by Mike Potter
DBAP/DURHAM The Durham Bulls come into Game 3 of their showdown series with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs needing a win pretty badly.
Ryne Sandberg’s club has won the first two games by having a better bullpen, and the teams lead their respective International League divisions by a game and a half each.
It’s Star Wars night, so there will be characters all over the park and the Bulls are in specially designed jerseys in a promotion for the Autism Society of North Carolina.
Matt Torra (0-1, 6.29) will take the hill for Durham against the IronPigs’ Ryan Feierabend (9-6, 5.53).
And this time it’s the Bulls’ night, as they get an early knockdown punch and hold on for a 6-2 victory to leave them a game and a half in front of the Gwinnett Braves in the South Division.
Durham jumps all over Feierabend in the second inning. After two walks, Daniel Mayora singles to left before Nevin Ashley follows with an RBI single to left. John Matulia cracks an RBI double to left and J.J. Furmaniak follows with another to center and it’s 5-0.
Lehigh Valley gets its two runs up in the sixth. Freddy Galvis leads off with a single, scoring on Pete Orr’s one-out triple to right. Orr later scores on Brandon Moss’ one-out sac fly to left.
In the bottom of the frame Furmaniak leads off against Drew Carpenter with a double to right and continues on an error. Ray Olmedo then brings home the final run with a fly ball to right.
Torra gets the quality start by going six and allowing two runs on five hits with a walk and no strikeouts. After Dane De Rosa pitches two brilliant innings Rob Delaney collects his fourth save.
Furmaniak leads the Bulls’ eight-hit attack with the two doubles and two RBI, while Mayora chips in two hits.
Galvis finishes with two of the IronPigs’ six hits.
They said it …
Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo: “Torra pitched great! He gave us a chance. Of course the five runs helped. But you’ve still got to get people out and he did. He went six, and that’s pretty good. Actually that’s outstanding. He threw strikes and got ahead. De La Rosa and Delaney have been lights out for us the last month and a half, I’d say. That was huge that Furmaniak got that big hit in the sixth right after they scored. He’s struggled much of the year, but he’s had a lot of big hits.”
Furmaniak: “The bottom of the lineup was good tonight. Ashley was batting seventh, then Matulia and then me. The 3-4-5 hitters were patient and got walks, and maybe their guy got a little bit lazy at the bottom of the lineup. When you put our averages together it’s not that great, but we got good pitches and made things happen.”
Ashley: “Our pitching was wonderful. Those guys really hit their spots, and mixed it up inside/outside and off-speed. After we lost the first two, we did a good job coming out and getting on top early. The pitchers just needed to hold the lead, and they pitched very well.”
What does it all mean?
That the Bulls have a chance to split the season series with a win on Sunday.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Matulia’s double in the second.
Lehigh Valley leads 4-3.
Bulls: Won 1.
Lehigh Valley: Lost 1.
Bulls (Matt Moore 2-0, 0.50) vs. Lehigh Valley (Ryan Edell 3-3, 4.11), Sunday, 5:05 p.m.