Things had gone so well for Yonny Chirinos during his short stint in Durham. Sunday at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, the Norfolk Tides rained on Chirinos’ perfect season.
A perfect 5-0 coming into the contest, Chirinos was bombarded by the Tides in the second inning, giving up four runs, eventually leading to a 6-2 Norfolk win. Through four innings Chirinos had already given up seven hits. His season-high was seven hits in six innings versus Charlotte last month.
Chirinos looked impressive to start the game, retiring the first two batters he faced, while the third grounded out for an easy inning. But the top of the first definitely wasn’t a sign of things to come. The 23 year-old gave up five hits in the top of the second, spotting the Tides (27-36) a 4-0 lead. Durham would never recover, dropping to 12-12 this season when their opponents score first and 7-8 in series finales. Norfolk leaves town having tied the series, and left Durham scratching their heads at what went wrong so fast.
“Tip your cap to Norfolk,” Bulls’ manager Jared Sandberg said. “They strung together some hits. The ball was flat and it allowed Norfolk to get underneath it and drive the ball. They made a good adjustment (from the first inning to the second), but he (Chirinos) got better.”
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The Bulls (39-23) got on the board in the second when Casey Gillaspie drove in a run with a single. Durham cut the Norfolk lead in half after a base hit from Shane Peterson, but the Tides took back the momentum - a solo home run from Drew Dosch - and put, what felt like at the time, the final nail in the coffin in the seventh when Logan Schafer drove in a run with a double.
Luis Sardinas started the scoring for Norfolk with a two-RBI triple in the top of the second. Two batters later, Schafer laid down a sacrifice bunt to score Paul Janish. At the top of the order Craig Gentry scored one run with a single and the score was suddenly 4-0 after a brilliant first inning of work by Chirinos. Chirinos struck out five batters in his first loss. After the big second inning by the Tides, Chirinos only gave up two hits the rest of the way.
“He’s a competitor,” Sandberg said. “He got better.”
Peterson led the Bulls with two hits. On a day when it seemed like everyone else was in a slump, Peterson was the one bright spot in the lineup for Sandberg.
“He’s put up some good numbers,” Sandberg said. “He’s an aggressive hitter. With baseball hitting is difficult, there’s a mental side, a physical side. Guys go through ups and downs … you can limit the downs and be consistent as possible.”
Durham will have Monday off to recharge their batteries before heading to Columbus for a three-game series beginning Tuesday. Jake Faria (6-1, 3.07) will start on the hill for the Bulls. Tuesday’s game will be the first of a six-game road trip.