by Mike Potter
The current series with the Charlotte Knights is tied at a win apiece after Charlotte rolled 8-3 on Wednesday afternoon to break its six-game losing streak.
A good pitchers’ duel should be looming, as lefty Alex Torres (1-0, 0.00), who was IL pitcher of the week last week, takes the hill for the Bulls against Jeff Marquez (1-1, 0.82).
The Bulls come in leading the South Division by half a game over the Gwinnett Braves.
For the second time in a row it isn’t the Bulls’ night, as the Knights take the early lead and win 6-4.
Charlotte goes up 1-0 in the first as Alejandro DeAza leads off with a single to right and scores on a two-out bases-loaded walk.
The Knights double their lead in the second. Eduardo Escobar draws a one-out walk and then takes third on DeAza’s double and scores on a passed ball.
The Bulls cut it in half with two out in the second. Robinson Chirinos singles to left and scores on Leslie Anderson’s double to right.
It stays there until the sixth when Cory Wade relieves Torres, and Dallas McPherson greets Wade by launching his first pitch off the Snorting Bull sign behind left center.
And the Knights pour on some more in the eighth. With two out, R.J. Swindle walks Lastings Milledge and Jordan Danks before Gookie Dawkins deposits a 1-0 pitch over the Blue Monster wall in left.
But the Bulls rally in the bottom of the frame. Ray Olmedo’s single to left chases Marquez, and then after Omar Luna greets Miguel Socolovich with a single to left Brandon Guyer cracks a one-out, two-run double down the third-base line. Chris Carter then finds the perfect spot between sprinting outfielders in center and right for an RBI double to make it 6-4.
Marquez gets the quality start, going seven innings and allowing two runs on six hits with three strikeouts against one walk.
DeAza finishes with the double and two singles, while Dawkins has a homer and single.
Torres takes the loss, allowing two runs — one earned — on two hits while striking out 10 against four walks. Chirinos is the only Bull with two hits.
They said it …
Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo: “It was two stories and five innings for Torres. All over the place and then a big leaguer. If he throws strikes he’s going to be in the big leagues for a long time, and if he doesn’t he’ll be up and down. He’s got good stuff, but he needs the kind of consistency he had in his first two outings. It was good to see him come back. (Marquez) was OK. We just didn’t make an adjustment at the plate.”
Charlotte manager Joe McEwing: “Marquez was pretty good. He’s been outstanding all three starts, and he took a little page from Lucas (Harrell) yesterday the last two innings and got us deep into the game. He ended up with 90-some pitches and pitched a heck of a game. Torres has got good stuff. He locates three pitches for strikes at any time, and if you can do that it’s pretty special. We had a couple of big hits. Gookie’s home run with two outs was a huge part of that ball game.”
Torres: “I just try to pitch around the plate to let them swing the ball. After the third inning I was more comfortable and threw every pitch for strikes. Before that I was missing with everything. I was a little bit too excited the first two innings.”
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Bulls: Lost 2.
Charlotte: Won 2.
Bulls (Brian Baker 0-0, 3.86) vs. Charlotte (Freddy Dolsi 1-1, 6.52), Friday, 7:05 p.m.