Rare morning (11:05 a.m.) start sees Bulls gore Knights
Building a five-run lead with their starting pitcher racking up strikeouts quickly over the first two innings appeared to set things up for an easy Thursday for the Durham Bulls.
Charlotte (4-4), though, made the Bulls work hard to gain an International League win, collecting more hits than Durham (5-3) in the finale of an eight-game Bulls’ homestand.
Brad Boxberger allowed just one of those hits and his work over the final two innings allowed Durham to secure a 5-4 win before a daytime crowd of 8,850 — the game started at 11:05 a.m. — at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Boxberger struck out five Charlotte batters over his two innings of work, closing the game with a strikeout of Alex Liddi with the potential tying run at third and the potential go-ahead run at second.
“It seemed like they had the momentum,” Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo said. “Every inning they had a chance to score and take over the game.”
Charlotte had runners on base in every inning but two. Bulls starting pitcher Matt Andriese struck out the side in the first inning. Boxberger worked a perfect eighth inning with two strikeouts.
Other than that, Durham’s four pitchers had to make pressure pitches to protect the lead.
Boxberger made the final, successful pitches.
With one out in the ninth and the Bulls up by a run, he walked Knights catcher Hector Gimenez. After Matt Davidson struck out, Andy Wilkins hit a fly ball down the line in left field. A strong crosswind pushed the ball as it headed to the corner of the wall, where it hit just inside the yellow foul line.
Durham leftfielder Justin Christian grabbed the ball after it hit the wall and the ground. He fired it back toward the infield and the slow-footed Gimenez — the tying run — stopped at third.
“A fast guy for sure would have scored,” Montoyo said.
With runners at second and third, Boxberger took matters into his own hands to fan Liddi and record his first save of the season.
“The last couple of years I’ve been a multiple-inning guy,” Boxberger said. “I like being able to go out there and work on stuff.”
Durham built its 5-0 lead with three runs in the third inning and two more in the fourth. The third-inning runs were unearned due to a two-out throwing error by Charlotte shortstop Tyler Saladino. Two Durham hits and a hit batsman followed the miscue.
In the fourth, doubles by Mike Fontenot, Eddy Rodriguez and Ray Olmedo added two more Bulls runs.
Andriese allowed just one hit while striking out seven over the first four innings. But Charlotte roughed him up in the fifth with four well-struck hits, including a two-run home run Gimenez.
Liddi’s two-out RBI single off Adam Liberatore in the seventh cut Durham’s lead to 5-4.
KIERMAIER ON MOVE — After being held out of the lineup on Thursday, Bulls outfielder Kevin Kiermaier learned he was joining the Tampa Bay Rays roster for a series at Cincinnati starting tonight.
Kiermaier, who has batted .310 for Durham this season, was on Tampa Bay’s roster last season for a special playoff game at Texas and the wild-card playoff game at Cleveland.
“This is my first true call-up in the regular season, so it will be a lot different than last year,” Kiermaier said. “So I’m excited. I’m happy for the opportunity up there, even if it’s just for a few days. I’ll be ready for any opportunity I get up there.”
Tampa Bay needed an extra left-handed batter, like Kiermaier, because the designated hitter rule is not in effect for interleague games played in National League parks like Cincinnati.
NOTES — The Bulls hit the road for the first time this season today as they embark on a five-game road trip. They take on the Gwinnett Braves at 7:05 p.m. Friday at Coolray Field. Lefty Mike Montgomery (1-0, 0.00) will start against Gwinnett southpaw Daniel Rodriguez (1-0, 1.80).
Durham Bulls (5-3) 5, Charlotte Knights (4-4) 4
April 10, 2014
|Sanchez, C, 2B||5||0||0||0||0||3||6||.156|
|Gimenez, H, C||4||1||1||2||1||1||2||.091|
|Mitchell, J, LF||2||1||1||0||2||1||0||.133|
|Guerra, J, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
2B: Mitchell, J (1, Andriese), Tekotte (4, Andriese), Wilkins 2 (3, Liberatore, Boxberger).
HR: Gimenez, H (1, 5th inning off Andriese, 1 on, 2 out).
TB: Mitchell, J 2; Saladino; Davidson; Gimenez, H 4; Liddi; Phipps; Tekotte 2; Wilkins 4.
RBI: Tekotte (1), Gimenez, H 2 (2), Liddi (1).
2-out RBI: Gimenez, H 2; Liddi.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Gimenez, H; Sanchez, C 2; Phipps; Liddi 2.
Team RISP: 3-for-10.
Team LOB: 11.
E: Saladino (3, throw).
Outfield assists: Mitchell, J (Olmedo at 3rd base).
DP: 2 (Sanchez, C-Liddi, Davidson-Sanchez, C-Liddi).
|Figueroa, C, SS||3||0||1||1||0||0||1||.462|
|Rodriguez, E, C||3||2||1||1||0||1||1||.100|
2B: Fontenot (2, Surkamp), Rodriguez, E (1, Surkamp), Olmedo (1, Surkamp).
TB: Fontenot 2; Olmedo 3; Rodriguez, E 2; Figueroa, C; Belnome; Price; Mahtook.
RBI: Price (1), Figueroa, C (1), Rodriguez, E (2), Olmedo (1).
2-out RBI: Price; Figueroa, C.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Christian 2.
GIDP: Christian, Mahtook.
Team RISP: 4-for-7.
Team LOB: 4.
E: Olmedo (1, throw).
|Surkamp (L, 0-1)||4.0||7||5||2||1||4||0||3.60|
|Andriese (W, 1-1)||5.0||5||3||3||2||8||1||5.40|
|Geltz (H, 1)||1.0||1||0||0||2||1||0||2.25|
|Liberatore (H, 1)||1.0||2||1||1||0||2||0||4.91|
|Boxberger (S, 1)||2.0||1||0||0||1||5||0||0.00|
HBP: Figueroa, C (by Surkamp).
Pitches-strikes: Surkamp 75-49, Boggs 17-13, Guerra, J 31-19, Andriese 95-63, Geltz 25-11, Liberatore 22-12, Boxberger 35-23.
Groundouts-flyouts: Surkamp 4-1, Boggs 2-2, Guerra, J 2-1, Andriese 4-4, Geltz 0-1, Liberatore 1-0, Boxberger 1-0.
Batters faced: Surkamp 20, Boggs 6, Guerra, J 7, Andriese 23, Geltz 6, Liberatore 5, Boxberger 8.
Ejections: Charlotte Knights Manager Joel Skinner ejected by HP umpire Ben May (8th)
Umpires: HP: Ben May. 1B: Joseph Born. 3B: Jon Saphire.
Weather: 58 degrees, sunny.
Wind: 5 mph, R to L.
Venue: Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
April 10, 2014
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media