by Mike Potter
Scranton/Wilkes Barre opened their four-game series on Friday night with a 14-3 victory. At least the Bulls played errorless baseball. And that type of thing has been an aberration, as Charlie Montoyo’s club still occupies its usual first-place spot in the International League’s South Division.
Chris Bootcheck (3-1, 3.43) has been one of the Bulls’ steadier pitchers of late and will make the start. And his opponent is a familiar face in the Triangle, as UNC alumnus Adam Warren (6-2, 3.07) will make the start for the Yankees.
The fans are treated to an outstanding pitchers’ duel, and three home runs provide all the scoring as the Yankees win 2-1.
SWB gets just one hit to the Bulls’ three in four scoreless innings, and then with one out in the fifth Team USA veteran Terry Tiffee launches a 1-1 offering into the Diamond View seats in right.
Warren’s outing is a gem, as he goes six shutout innings and allows six hits, striking out seven against one walk.
And as soon as Warren is off the mound the Bulls pounce on Eric Wordekemper, as Leslie Anderson leads off the seventh by launching an 0-1 pitch high into the Diamond View seats.
Greg Golson gets the Yankees their run back in the eighth, leading off by blasting a 2-0 pitch over the Blue Monster wall in left.
Warren goes six shutout innings and allows five hits, striking out seven against one walk. Golson homers and singles and is the only Yankee with two hits. Wordekemper (2-0) gets the win and Randy Flores his second save.
Anderson homers, doubles and singles while Desmond Jennings chips in three hits with two steals. Bootcheck goes 7 1/3 innings and allows the two runs on five hits with seven strikeouts against three walks.
They said it …
Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo: “Bootcheck gave us a chance. He did what we needed because our bullpen was so thin. He just made two mistakes.”
SWB manager Dave Miley: “Both guys pitched very well. In this park when three runs are scored and they’re all solo home runs — that doesn’t happen a lot, I guess. Both starters threw the heck out of the ball and it’s just unfortunate either one of them had to play in any kind of decision. (Adam) Warren has been that solid. You’ve got to give Scotty (pitching coach Aldred) a lot of credit. They’ve had a lot of work together.”
Warren: “I feel like I’m improving, but there’s work I need to do. When the time is right (a promotion) will come. I had a lot of friends and family here (many from hometown New Bern), people who hadn’t gotten to see me pitch in the minor leagues. It was a great atmosphere and I enjoyed it. My fastball command was better than it’s been, and I used my other pitches to keep them off balance.”
Bootcheck: “You just have to tip your cap. Their starting pitcher did a great job and their bullpen did a great job and they got the big hits when they needed to. I felt good and was throwing the ball where I wanted to. I felt like getting into the seventh and eighth with a chance was achievable. We just came out on the wrong side of it tonight.”
What does it all mean?
That Warren and Bootcheck are among the best pitchers in the league, and both of them play for very good teams.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre leads 2-0.
Bulls: Lost 2.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre: Won 3.
Bulls (Lance Cormier 0-1, 1.86) vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Kei Igawa (0-0, 0.84), Sunday, 5:05 p.m.