Bulls bats go silent in loss to Norfolk
The Durham Bulls' final weekend home game of the regular season brought another large crowd to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
The home fans had little to cheer about, though.
Playing before a crowd of 10,233, the Bulls were shutout on five hits as Norfolk left town with a 2-0 International League win.
The loss meant little to Durham (83-52), which wrapped up the South Division championship last week. The Bulls will play home games in the playoffs against West Division champion Indianapolis on Sept. 4-5 no matter what happens the rest of the regular season.
The Tides (71-64) gained a much-needed win in their quest to join the Bulls in the playoffs. Though 12 games behind Durham in the South Division standings, Norfolk trails Rochester (72-64) by one-half game in the wild-card race.
Norfolk used five pitchers to stymie Durham and keep the Bulls fans quiet on Sunday.
Kevin Gausman, one of Baltimore’s top pitching prospects who has started five games for the Orioles this season, started and pitched the first three innings, striking out four. Four Norfolk relievers shut down Durham from there.
“Today was one of the toughest days to hit because the shadows were there the whole time,” Durham manager Charlie Montoyo said. “There were a lot of bad swings by both teams.”
Chris Jones and Tim Alderson each pitched two scoreless innings for the Tides before Manny Delcarmen took over in the eighth inning. The Bulls had their best chance to score against Delcarmen.
With Norfolk up 2-0, Chris Gimenez drew a lead off walk before Jesus Flores singled and Tim Beckham reached on an infield hit to load the bases with no outs.
The rally fell apart when Cole Figueroa hit a sharp groundball to first base. Norfolk’s Alex Liddi threw home for a force out and Figueroa was called out on a close play at first base to complete the double play.
Brandon Guyer, on an injury rehabilitation assignment after breaking his finger in July, was retired on a foul fly ball to right field to end the inning.
Norfolk closer Jairo Asencio set the Bulls down in order in the ninth inning to record his 24th save.
Guyer hit .300 with seven home runs for the Bulls prior to his injury. In his first game back, he was 0-for-3 with a walk.
“It didn’t feel too comfortable but when you have a month off its going to be like that,” Guyer said. “I think it’s just going to take a little bit. I just have to make sure I take a good mental approach and be patient.”
Either way, after waiting four week for his broken finger to heal, Guyer welcomed just being on the field.
“This last month has been really boring,” Guyer said. “It felt great to get back out on the field and try to help the team win. It was a tough loss but I’m just glad I’m able to play again.”
Mike Montgomery took the tough loss for the Bulls. The left-hander pitched six innings, allowing four hits and one run.
Norfolk broke a scoreless tie in the sixth inning when Wilson Betemit hit a lead-off double and scored on a two-out, bloop single to centerfield by Zelous Wheeler.
The Tides added an unearned run off Adam Liberatore in the eighth inning when Wheeler again stroked a two-out, bloop single to centerfield that drove in a run.
Notes: Sunday’s crowd gives the Bulls a season total of 485,575 at the DBAP with two regular-season home games remaining. The Bulls need to average 7,213 tonight and Tuesday to reach the 500,000-fan mark for the season. The Bulls season average is 7,140, which is No. 8 in the International League. Durham has had three crowds surpass the 10,000 mark in the last four home games….Durham begins its final regular-season home series tonight with a 7:05 p.m. game against Charlotte.
Norfolk |AB |R |H |RBI || Durham |AB |R |H |RBI |
Betemit, DH |4 |1 |1 |0 | Beckham, SS |4 |0 |2 |0 |
Navarro, SS|3 |0 |0 |0 | Figueroa, 3B |3 |0 |0 |0 |
Urrutia, RF |3 |0 |1 |0|Guyer, RF |3 |0 |0 |0 |
Wheeler, 3B |4 |0 |3 |2|Roberts, DH |4 |0 |0 |0 |
Schoop, 2B |4 |0 |0 |0 | Fontenot, 2B |4 |0 |1 |0 |
Thames, LF |4 |0 |1 |0 | Duncan, 1B |3 |0 |1 |0 |
Liddi, 1B |4 |0 |1 |0| Kiermaier, CF 3 |0 |0 |0 |
Exposito, C |4 |0 |0 |0 | Gimenez, LF |1 |0 |0 |0 |
Avery, CF |3 |1 |1 |0 | Flores, J, C |3 |0 |1 |0 |
Totals |33 |2 |8 |2 | Totals |28 |0 |5 |0 |
Norfolk |000|001|010 – |2
Durham |000|000|000 – 0
E: Liberatore. LOB – Norfolk 7, Durham 6. 2B: Betemit, Avery. SB: Avery, Fontenot.
DP: Durham 2, Norfolk 2.
Norfolk |IP |H |R |ER |BB |SO | |
Gausman |3.0 |1 |0 |0 |0 |4 |
Jones, C (W, 4-3) |2.0 |1 |0 |0 |3 |2 |
Alderson (H, 5) |2.0 |1 |0 |0 |1 |1 |
Delcarmen (H, 16) |1.0 |2 |0 |0 |1 |0 |
Asencio, J (S, 24) |1.0 |0 |0 |0 |0 |1 |
Durham |IP |H |R |ER |BB |SO | |
Montgomery, M (L, 7-7) |6.0 |4 |1 |1 |3 |6 |
Liberatore |1.2 |3 |1 |0 |0 |3 |
Wade |1.1 |1 |0 |0 |0 |0 |
WP: Jones, Alderson. T: 2:47. A: 10,233.