by Mike Potter
DURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK One win to stop a seven-game losing streak has gotten the Durham Bulls back to above .500 at home (24-23) and to within 10 games of a playoff spot.
Tonight the Bulls will take on Ryne Sandberg’s club in the third of a four-game set, with steady battler Matt Torra (8-6, 4.22) taking on Pat Misch (7-10, 4.50).
Sparked by the bottom of the order Durham escapes with its second straight win, prevailing 6-4 to take the lead in the teams’ season series.
The Bulls get onto the board first with a two-run second inning. Leslie Anderson leads off with a double to right followed by a walk to Tim Beckham. Then with two out, Cole Figueroa doubles to right to score both runners.
Lehigh Valley cuts the lead in half in the third, as Andres Blanco lifts a 3-2 pitch for what is ruled a homer to right although replays clearly show the ball bouncing off the metal grate above the wall.
The IronPigs take the lead in the fourth as John Suomi leads off with a single to center followed by Cody Overbeck’s double to left. The runners score on a sac fly to center from Steve Susdorf and a sac fly to left from Michael Martinez.
The Bulls then tie it in the bottom of the frame as Reid Brignac is hit by a pitch and scores on Figueroa’s one-out single to the mound.
The visitors take the lead again in the fifth, as former Bull Kyle Hudson reaches on a bunt single and scores on Domonic Brown’s one-out double to center.
But the Bulls put the game away with three runs in the bottom of the frame. Henry Wrigley leads off with a single to left, advancing on a caught-stealing error before Chris Gimenez’ double to center brings him home. After
Anderson singles Gimenez scores on Beckham’s one-out sacrifice fly to center, and later comes home on a Jesus Feliciano single.
Figueroa leads the Bulls with three hits including a double for three RBI while Anderson doubles with the two singles and rehabilitating Sam Fuld doubles and singles.
Southpaw Frank De Los Santos (2-1) gets the win in relief, going 2 1/3 innings and allowing one hit while striking out one. Dane De La Rosa pitched a perfect ninth for his 12th save.
They said it …
Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo: “Figueroa is having a good year, quietly. It seems like every hit he gets is a big hit. He’s making an impression. He and Wrigley were a couple of guys who got a chance to play Triple-A for the first time and they’re both taking advantage of it. Cole plays the game the right way. He has great hands and he’s having good at-bats. He’s clutch.”
Figueroa: “No. 9 is a hot spot right now. Hopefully I can stay there — just kidding. You always want to move up in the lineup. I’ve been able to make adjustments and feel out the league. They can throw their off-speed stuff for strikes early in the count, and if you’re missing pitches you get their good stuff later. I’m being more aggressive and not getting in a hole so much.”
De Los Santos: “I felt good. They have a lot of lefties, so I was prepared in the bullpen to come in and get a lefty out - that’s my job. I like pitching against left-handers in this park.”
What does it all mean?
That the Bulls can beat the best teams in the IL at home.
Stars of the game
3. De Los Santos.
Play of the game
Gimenez’ double in the fifth.
Bulls: Won 2.
Lehigh Valley: Lost 2.
Bulls lead 4-3.
Bulls (Alex Torres 3-4, 6.34) vs. Lehigh Valley (B.J. Rosenberg 2-2, 2.06), Thursday, 7:05 p.m.