by Mike Potter
DBAP/DURHAM The Durham Bulls come into a packed Saturday night house in Game 6 of their homestand, looking to end a two-game losing streak.
Tonight’s visitor is of course the Pawtucket Red Sox, the team that has been Durham’s worst tormentor in the history of Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Pawtucket has won 32 and lost 22 here, the only International League team with a victorious mark in Durham.
I think it’s the Blue Monster/Green Monster connection, since the Red Sox obviously sign players they hope will help them win in Fenway Park someday.
Anyway, Dirk Hayhurst (1-0, 2.42) has come off the disabled list to make his first start for the Bulls since April 23. He’ll face southpaw Felix Doubront.
Back in town and starting in right field for Pawtucket on his Major League rehab assignment is Darnell McDonald, who won the Bulls’ community service, fan favorite and media “good guy” awards on the troubled 2006 team.
McDonald hits a three-run homer and a single while Lars Anderson adds a homer and single for three RBI as Pawtucket wins 7-1 before a season-best Durham crowd of 10,371.
Both pitchers have solid starts before Pawtucket puts up two in the fourth. McDonald leads off with a single to left, and then Anderson launches a 1-1 offering into the Diamond View seats in right.
Pawtucket breaks it open in the fifth. Luis Exposito singles to right, and then Marco Scutaro’s one-out single to left chases Hayhurst and brings on Dane De La Rosa. On 3-1, McDonald launches one over the Blue Monster wall in left center and the visitors lead 5-0.
The Bulls finally get one in the fifth. Leslie Anderson gets a two-out infield hit to chase Doubront and bring on Tony Pena (3-2) who ends up collecting the victory. Robinson Chirinos walks before J.J. Furmaniak hits an RBI single to right.
Pawtucket adds two more runs in the ninth. Lin Che-Hsuan greets Rob Delaney with a single to center, then scores on Anderson’s two-out single to center before Hector Luna triples to right center.
They said it …
Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo: “Hayhurst wasn’t able to locate as good as he had been before he was hurt, and to me that was the key. Today he pitched behind a lot and that’s not him. I’m hoping he’ll just get back to where he was before he got hurt.”
Hayhurst (with tongue in cheek): “The Rays have instituted a new vegan diet which has been screwing up my ability to get a hold of hamburger grease, which is a key element in being able to throw the skoodoush which, as you know is a money pitch for me. That’s a factor. I learned a great splitting, sliding, knuckling two-seam skoodoush from this guy named Toledo Jones back in A-ball, and that’s my go-to pitch I just kept missing arm-side with it. I wanted to lull them into a false sense of confidence and then use that against them just like General Patton would do … ”
McDonald: “It found the barrel. I put some good swings on the baseball and got one in the air. I’m just trying to have quality at-bats. I’m rehabbing my quad, my legs and my mind. It just feels good to be able to go out and play baseball. I hadn’t played in a while, so it’s been good to get out there with the boys and play ball. I’ve played about everywhere, but this is one of my favorite places to play.”
What does it all mean?
That the PawSox’ domination in Durham continues another day.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
McDonald’s homer in the fifth.
Pawtucket leads 2-0.
Bulls: Lost 3.
Pawtucket: Won 5.
Bulls (Alex Torres 2-4, 3.71) vs. Pawtucket (Matt Fox 4-2, 2.73), Sunday, 5:05 p.m.