by Mike Potter
DBAP/DURHAM The Durham Bulls will go for a sweep tonight in the finale of their four-game home series against the Buffalo Bisons.
It’s another hot night as the club prepares for hundreds of Boy Scouts to take to the outfield for a post-game campout.
A local football hero is back in town as David Garrard — the former Southern High and East Carolina star who now quarterbacks the Jacksonville Jaguars — throws the ceremonial first pitch. And of course the local baseball heroes are back as well, as UNC alumni Russ Adams and Marshall Hubbard are in the Bisons’ lineup.
Aneury Rodriguez (2-4) is on the hill for the Bulls against Buffalo ace southpaw Pat Misch (5-1).
Rodriguez gets a quality outing while his teammates beat up Buffalo pitching, and the Bulls win 8-3.
Durham gets to Misch for three runs in the third. Desmond Jennings rips a two-out triple to center before Elliot Johnson walks. Matt Joyce erases the zero with an RBI double to right, and after Ryan Shealy walks Angel Chavez rips a two-run double to left.
The Bulls add another run in the fifth as Jennings doubles and later scored on Chavez’s two-out single to right.
And they tack on two more runs in the sixth. Alvin Colina leads off with a double to right, then scores on a two-out double to left from Jennings who in turn scores on Elliot Johnson’s single to right.
Buffalo gets on the board in the seventh as Mike Cervenak hits a one-out single to left, Fernando Martinez singles and later Josh Thole greets R.J. Swindle with a two-run double to right.
The Bulls come back for two in the bottom of the frame. Chavez and Colina each single off Jose De La Torre, who is pulled for Adam Pettyjohn with two out. J.J. Furmaniak hits an RBI single to left before Jennings draws a bases-loaded walk.
The Bisons cut it to 8-3 in the eighth as Adams leads off with a single and scores on a one-out grounder from Mike Jacobs.
Then things get nasty in the bottom of the frame. John Lujan replaces Pettyjohn and strikes out Ryan Shealy before plunking Chavez. There’s really no more to the incident, but as Chavez is the third hit batsman of the game and the teams have been warned previously, both Lujan and manager Ken Oberkfell are ejected.
Rodriguez goes 6 1/3 innings and allows two runs on four hits with six strikeouts against one walk. Chavez goes 4-for-4 with a double and three RBI, while Jennings triples with two doubles and two RBI as the Bulls outhit the visitors 13-6.
They said it …
Bulls skipper Charlie Montoyo: “How about Rodriguez? This game is funny, when you’re going good. The guy who’s been going 4 2/3 gets into the seventh inning. That was huge. … Scoring those couple of runs at the end was big too. Jennings is getting hot and he’s getting to be the one we knew he could be. Chavez is clutch, he’s clutch.”
Chavez: “They threw me a lot of off-speed stuff, basically the whole game, and I was able to get some hits. I knew they were going to throw at somebody and they were lucky it was me. I knew they would have to drill somebody. That’s baseball. That’s how you play the game. … We’ve got a good group on this team. We just go out there and have fun and take it game-by-game. We’re not even looking at the standings.”
Jennings: “I’ve been feeling better at the plate, trying not to pull off as many balls, trying to stay off of them and drive them the other way. Hopefully I can stay this way. We’ve got a good team, a real good team. I think we have the best pitching and hitting. It’s great being around so many guys with big-league experience. They’ve been there and done that. I’m just trying to follow their lead, and that makes everything easier.”
What does it all mean?
That the Bulls swept a winning team and have a 10 ½-game lead the South Division.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Chavez’s double in the third.
Bulls lead 5-3.
Durham: Won 4.
Buffalo: Lost 5.
Buffalo: Promoted OF Fernando Martinez from St. Lucie.
Gwinnett at Bulls, 7:05 p.m.
Todd Redmond (R, 6-5, 4.15) vs. Richard De Los Santos (R, 5-2, 3.77)
Lehigh Valley at Buffalo, 7:05 p.m.
Drew Carpenter (R, 5-4, 3.58) vs. Bobby Livingston (L, 2-6, 4.43)