by Mike Potter
DURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK The Durham Bulls will finish their series against the Charlotte Knights with one of those “getaway day” afternoon games the International League seems to enjoy.
The Bulls have a nice 14-10 record at home, and lead the current series 2 games to 1.
“Matsui mania” remains alive and well at the ballpark. Hideki Matsui’s entourage of 35 Japanese media is still in the house, and will be remaining as long as the one nicknamed “Godzilla” is still on the Bulls roster.
Meanwhile the Knights roster has plenty of familiar faces, as Duke alum Jim Gallagher and former Bulls Dan Johnson and Ray Olmedo are all in the lineup today, with former Bull Hector Gimenez getting the day off.
The Bulls will send Jim Paduch (2-1, 2.74) to the hill against Terry Doyle (2-3, 3.66).
Charlotte outhits the Bulls 11-6 and wins 5-2 to earn a split of the series.
The Knights jump on Paduch early. With one out in the first Drew Garcia walks, and after Dallas McPherson singles, Paduch throws the ball into center field on a pickoff attempt and then uncorks a wild pitch to score Garcia.
McPherson scores on Josh Phegley’s single to right to make it 2-0.
Charlotte adds two more in the third. McPherson hits a one-out single to center, and then Johnson reached on an error to third baseman Matt Mangini. Phegley’s single to right scores McPherson, and then Gallagher’s single to right scores Johnson.
The Bulls finally get on the board in the fourth, when Leslie Anderson lifts a one-out, 2-0 pitch into the Diamond View seats in right.
Charlotte makes it 5-1 in the seventh, as Greg Golson leads off with a triple to left and scores on Garcia’s single to right.
The Bulls get a run in the eighth as Shawn O’Malley draws a two-out walk, steals second and scores on Jesus Feliciano’s single to left.
Olmedo triples and singles for the Knights, who get a pair of hits with two RBI from McPherson.
Anderson is the only Bull with two hits.
Matsui goes 0-for-4 with a strikeout, two fly outs and one ground out.
Doyle lasts eight innings and allows two runs on four hits, with five strikeouts against one walk before Brian Bruney comes on for the save.
Paduch goes four innings and allows four runs – two earned – on seven hits with three strikeouts against a pair of walks.
They said it …
Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo: “Paduch didn’t have it today, and we didn’t make a couple of plays behind him. But he battled. Our offense was just dead today. We’re hoping our offense gets it going. It seems like we’re seeing too many starters going 6-7 innings when we play anybody. Anderson is having a good year. Good for him. And he also kills that team over there.”
Anderson: “I was looking for inside fastballs because they were working me inside a lot. On the (home run) at-bat, I was able to pull one to the right-field side. I didn’t have a good start last season, but this year I worked hard in the off-season and got ready sooner (and is now hitting. 329). I keep looking at (Matsui) every time he comes up to hit, and one of the things I saw is that with quick pitchers he’s ready earlier than anyone else.”
Bulls second baseman Cole Figueroa: “We got down early and just had a little bit of sloppiness and didn’t get anything going offensively. Hopefully after the off-day we can come back and get it going.”
What does it all mean?
That the Bulls may not have any momentum, but they’re getting a much-desired off day.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Bulls: Lost 1.
Charlotte: Won 1.
Knights lead 7-3.
Bulls (Chris Archer 3-4, 5.01) vs. Norfolk (Miguel Gonzales 1-1, 1.80), Thursday, 7:05 p.m.