by Mike Potter
It’s Game 2 of a four-game set between the last two Governors’ Cup Champions, and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees’ only visit to Durham this season unless they meet again in the playoffs. The Yankees won the series in four games in 2008, taking the clincher 20-2 in Durham, while the Bulls won it in three straight last season en route to their first Triple-A National Championship.
It’s a hot night in the old Bull City, with a crowd of 9,128 in the house awaiting the fireworks show as the Bulls seek their fourth straight win. That’s what happens, as the Bulls get 14 hits to six for the visitors en route to a 9-3 victory.
There are spot starters on the mound at first pitch, as Richard De Los Santos will go for the Bulls against Kei Igawa.
Durham gets to Igawa for a pair of runs in the first. Fernando Perez leads off with a double, with the runs scoring on singles from Hank Blalock and Dan Johnson.
The Yankees tie the score in the second when Chad Huffman homers to left on a two-out, 3-2 pitch from De Los Santos.
Jose Lobaton leads off the Bulls’ third with a homer to left. But the Yankees tie the score again in the sixth, as Kevin Russo leads off with a double to left and scores on Eduardo Nunez’s one-out single to left.
Durham then puts together a big rally in the sixth to drop the loss on Amaury Sanit. Eldridge doubles to left with two out, followed by a walk to Perez. Elliot Johnson and Dillon then hit back-to-back RBI doubles to left to chase Sanit before Blalock greets Royce Ring with an RBI single to left.
Durham tacks on another run in the seventh as Chris Richard hits a one-out double to left and scores on Eldridge’s two-out double to left.
And Dillon makes it 9-3 off Kevin Whelan in the eighth, blasting a one-out, 3-2 pitch off the Snorting Bull down the left-field line.
De Los Santos goes 6 2/3 innings and allows three runs on five hits, striking out four with one walk. Dillon homers, doubles and singles for two RBI, while Lobaton adds a single to his homer, Rashad Eldridge chips in three hits with an RBI and Blalock finishes with two singles for two RBI.
They said it …
Bulls skipper Charlie Montoyo: ““These guys are fun to watch. The story to me was De Los Santos going 6 2/3. His last two outings have been good as a starter. We really needed those six innings and he gave it to us. … The Yankees are a pretty good team, but our offense has been outstanding and that’s made the difference.”
Yankees manager Dave Miley: “Huffman got us back in the ball game (with his second-inning homer), but we had to go with the bullpen basically with (Romulo) Sanchez going to the big leagues. Igawa was able to give us four innings, and for a guy that didn’t know until late last night he went out there and kept us in the game. We just let it get away.”
Blalock: “We’ve been swinging the bats well lately. It’s always important to help your starting pitchers out by scoring some runs and giving them some cushion so they can go through their innings and get their work done. We have good starters and a good bullpen. It’s a very well-rounded team. We’ve got a lot of good hitters in this lineup and it’s always fun to be in one of those.”
What does it all mean?
That the Bulls are continuing on the right track to win their fourth straight South Division title.
Stars of the game
2. De Los Santos.
Play of the game
Dillon’s sixth-inning double.
Bulls lead 2-0.
Durham: Won 4.
SWB: Lost 3.
SWB at Bulls, Saturday, 5:05 p.m.
Jason Hirsch (R, 2-3, 3.06) vs. Carlos Hernandez (L, 2-0, 3.10)