by Mike Potter
DBAP/DURHAM It’s another hot night in the Bull City as Durham prepares for the opener of a four-game, two-city set with the Gwinnett Braves.
The first two games of the series are here before the Bulls embark on an 11-day, 10-game road trip. Tonight the Bulls will be without outfielder Justin Ruggiano, who has been recalled to Tampa Bay for the first time since 2008.
The game starts 34 minutes late because of rain, and then Richard De Los Santos (5-2) takes the hill against Gwinnett’s Todd Redmond (6-5).
This time it isn’t the Bulls’ night.
Barbaro Canizares has four hits including three doubles with five RBI, and the Braves bang out a season-best 18 hits in an 11-4 romp.
The Bulls get to Redmond for a pair of runs in the second. Desmond Jennings hits a one-out single to center, followed by a walk to Matt Joyce. Dan Johnson then follows with an RBI double to right center, with Joyce scoring on a throwing error from right fielder Matt Young. Elliot Johnson is then hurt legging out a grounder for what turns out to be the third out, and is replaced by J.J. Furmaniak at second.
Gwinnett comes back for four in the third, with two of the runs unearned. Clint Sammons, Wes Timmons and Canizares hit RBI singles during the rally.
And the Braves stretch it to 6-2 in the fourth on back-to-back-to-back doubles from Timmons, Freddie Freeman and Canizares.
The rout is on in the sixth, as the Braves explode for four more, all off De Los Santos. Canizares’ three-run double is the big blow.
Ryan Shealy makes it 10-3 when he leads off the Bulls’ sixth with a homer over the Blue Monster wall in left.
The Bulls trail 11-3 before loading the bases and getting a run across in the ninth, but the rally runs out of gas.
Redmond goes five innings in the victory, while De Los Santos goes 5 1/3 in the rough loss.
Timmons has four hits including a double with two RBI and scores three runs. Freeman finishes with three hits including a double with an RBI.
Shealy leads the Bulls with the homer and a double.
Bad news for the Bulls is that Elliot Johnson has a hamstring pull and is going to be out for a while.
They said it …
Bulls skipper Charlie Montoyo: “It was just one of those games. No excuses. We didn’t play good, and they found all the holes. They hit us hard — hard, soft, whatever. That’s it, really. We made a couple of misplays behind De Los Santos. Today we walked their guys who were struggling, and their guys who weren’t struggling got hits.”
Gwinnett manager Dave Brundage: “That was our best offensive output of the season. It came at an opportune time. We’re playing a tough ballclub that swings the bat well. Certainly from our standpoint it’s been a while coming. Redmond struggled a little bit in the first inning, but I felt like after we put up the four runs he went out and did what he was supposed to do, pitched with the lead.”
Shealy: “Tonight was just one of those nights from the get-go. They got a couple of cheap hits that fell in and we made a couple of defensive mistakes and they capitalized on it. They jumped on us early. But we’ve been on a good run. We’ll get back at it tomorrow.”
What does it all mean?
Not much in this context. The Bulls have won five of their last six and Gwinnett is 9 ½ out.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Canizares’ three-run double.
Bulls lead 5-3.
Durham: Lost 1.
Gwinnett: Won 1.
Durham: OF Justin Ruggiano promoted to Tampa Bay.
Gwinnett: SS Brandon Hicks promoted to Atlanta.
Gwinnett at Bulls, 5:05 p.m.
Jose Ortegano (L, 2-1, 4.55) vs. Carlos Hernandez (L, 5-3, 2.90)