by Mike Potter
DURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK The Durham Bulls play the back half of their two-game set with the Charlotte Knights, who are closing in on the South Division title.
It’s the fourth game of the Bulls’ last extended homestand of the season, and Durham is on a five-game losing streak.
Former Bulls Dan Johnson and Hector Gimenez are in the middle of the Knights’ lineup.
Lance Pendleton (7-5, 4.76) will try to right the ship for the Bulls’ beleaguered pitching staff on a mild evening, while Dylan Axelrod (7-4, 2.97) will go for Charlotte.
This time it’s an actual pitchers’ duel, with the Bulls getting a couple of runs late to win 3-1.
Leslie Anderson gives the Bulls the lead in the fourth when he launches Axelrod’s first pitch into the bleachers in right center.
The Knights tie it in the fifth, as Greg Golson knocks a two-out double to right and scores on Drew Garcia’s single to right.
But the Bulls take the lead again with two out in the sixth, as Reid Brignac reaches on an error to second baseman Jose Lopez and Tim Beckham follows with an RBI double off the Blue Monster wall in left center.
Durham stretches the lead in the seventh off Santos Rodriguez. Rich Thompson leads off with a single up the middle, followed by Cole Figueroa’s single and Anderson’s one-out sac fly to right.
Figueroa leads the Bulls’ 10-hit attack with a double and two singles, while Brignac doubles and singles. Lopez doubles and singles to lead Charlotte. Anderson improves his average to .315.
Pendleton goes a solid six innings, allowing one run on five hits with six strikeouts against three walks to improve to 6-1 at home. Frank De Los Santos holds for two innings before Dane De La Rosa completes his 16th save.
Axelrod also has a quality outing for Charlotte, going six innings and allowing two runs — one earned — on seven hits with three strikeouts against one walk.
They said it …
Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo: “I just wanted to hear Ken (Tanner) say ‘Bulls win!’ … Pendleton gave us what we needed, and we knew we were facing a good starter on the other side. Whether it’s going well or not, he always battles. And the last run by Anderson, getting that sac fly was big. He’s having a good year, and he’s finishing strong.”
Pendleton: “I just tried to forget about the streak and throw the best I could. If you make good pitches everything takes care of itself. I don’t know why I’ve been more successful at home. It’s just the way the cookie crumbles.”
Anderson: “(On the home run) Axelrod made good pitches on me in the first at-bat. The second time I was more aggressive, I got the fastball I wanted and I got a good swing on it. Last year was a real learning experience for me. I put in a lot of hard work in the off-season, and it’s paying off.”
What does it all mean?
That the Bulls keep playing hard, even though they’re getting close to playing out the string.
Stars of the game
3. De La Rosa.
Play of the game
Bulls: Won 1.
Charlotte: Lost 1.
Charlotte leads 12-5.
Bulls (Chris Archer 6-9, 4.00) vs. Norfolk (Jake Arrieta 3-3, 5.21), Wednesday, 7:05 p.m.