Colome, Bulls close series with win over IronPigs
Durham Bulls righthander Alex Colome learned to throw a cutter just two years ago.
On Monday, he had Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo invoking the name of a pitcher with the most famous cutter in baseball.
Colome recorded 11 strikeouts — the most by a Bulls pitcher in almost 12 months — and every starter recorded a hit as Durham defeated the Lehigh Valley IronPigs 8-2 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
“He’s got that cutter going almost like Mariano (Rivera), and they were missing it by a lot,” Montoyo said. “That pitch is a strikeout pitch. He needed something like that, and (now) he has it.”
Colome (2-5), a 24-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, allowed two runs (one earned) and three hits in seven innings, throwing 65 of his 101 pitches for strikes. He also pitched past the sixth inning for the first time this season.
“You have 100 pitches,” Colome said. “You can’t pitch six or five innings all the time. You have to throw eight or seven.”
The cutter was especially important when Lehigh Valley (16-21) loaded the bases in the fourth inning, when Cody Asche and Cody Overbeck turned fastballs into hits. After a visit from pitching coach Neil Allen, Colome used only one fastball to the next three batters, relying on cutters and changeups. He struck out two and hit Steven Lerud on a two-strike count, which led to his only earned run allowed.
“Every hitter’s waiting for my fastball, because I throw hard,” Colome said. “Neil told me, ‘Your cutter is good; you have to use it.’”
Colome had lost five straight starts, partly because Durham (23-15) had scored only 10 runs combined during that stretch. But he received plenty of support Monday, as seven Bulls recorded RBIs.
Jason Bourgeois finished a home run short of the cycle in four at-bats, while Vince Belnome went 2-for-4 with a double.
The Bulls broke the game open with a three-run third inning in which Bourgeios’s leadoff double was the only hit against Zach Miner (1-3). Brandon Guyer was hit by a pitch, Wil Myers and Leslie Anderson both walked on four pitches, and catcher Steven Lerud committed an error.
“Guys stayed simple for the most part, didn’t try to do too much,” Bourgeois said. “(We) kind of let the pitcher put himself in a hole, and we kind of took advantage of it.”
Errors by Rich Thompson and Anderson allowed Lehigh Valley to get within 5-2 after five, but Bourgeois tripled and scored in the sixth inning, and Bourgeois and Cole Figueroa had bases-loaded singles in the seventh.
The win allowed the Bulls to finish a forgettable 3-5 homestand on a high note.
“Hopefully, we can take this win and take the bats with us,” Bourgeois said. “Colome just pitched his tail off; he deserved a win, and I’m glad we were able to get it for him.”
NOTES — Colome has 66 strikeouts with the Bulls, one more than his uncle Jesus Colome, who pitched for Durham from 2001-04. His 12 strikeouts Monday were the most by a Bulls pitcher since Chris Archer fanned 12 on May 24, 2012. ... The Bulls signed righthander Cory Wade to replace Josh Lueke, who was promoted to Tampa Bay. Wade spent the first half of the 2011 season in Durham, going 2-1 with a 1.23 ERA in 21 games. He pitched a scoreless ninth inning Monday. ... Durham has just two games at home over the next two weeks — Friday and Saturday against Norfolk. The Bulls start a four-game series at Rochester on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m., with Bulls righty J.D. Martin (4-1, 3.69) facing Kyle Gibson (2-4, 3.32).
Bulls 8, IronPigs 2
Mitchell cf|3|1|0|0|Bourgeois dh|4|2|3|1
Hernandez 2b|3|0|1|0|Guyer cf|2|1|1|1
Asche 3b|4|1|1|1|Myers rf|4|1|1|1
Ruf lf|4|0|1|0|Anderson 1b|4|0|1|1
Overbeck 1b|3|0|1|0|Gimenez c|5|1|1|0
Fields dh|2|0|0|0|Belnome 3b|4|1|2|1
Susdorf rf|3|0|0|0|Beckham ss|3|1|1|1
Lerud c|3|0|0|1|Figueroa 2b|3|0|1|1
Orr ss|4|0|0|0|Thompson lf|4|1|1|0
E—Lerud, Thompson, Anderson. DP—Lehigh Valley 2, Durham 3. LOB—Lehigh Valley 7, Durham 10. 2B—Overbeck, Beckham, Bourgeois, Belnome. 3B—Bourgeois. SF—Belnome. S—Guyer, Bourgeois. SB—Thompson (10).
Miner (L, 1-3)|3.1|5|5|4|2|2
Colome (W, 2-5)|7.0|3|2|1|4|11
HBP—Lerud (by Colome), Guyer (by Miner), Guyer (by Miner). PB—Lerud. Umpires—HP, Travis Carlson; 1B, Ryan Blakney; 3B, Kelvin Bultron. T—2:58. A—4,500.