by Mike Potter
DURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK The Durham Bulls come into the second game of their current homestand probably looking for a normal contest after what happened Tuesday night.
Durham is ahead in the season series with the Yankees, who are scheduled to land in Moosic, Pa., again next season but this year play half-time at a temporary home in Rochester and the rest of their home games seemingly all over the Northeast.
Tonight Lance Pendleton (2-1) will take on the Yankees’ Ramon Ortiz (3-3, 3.47).
And the visitors clearly get the better of it, taking an early lead and rolling to a 9-4 win.
Russell Branyan, who had hit the Yankees’ homers on Tuesday, gives his team a 1-0 lead when he leads off the second by blasting a 3-2 offering onto the berm behind center.
And the Yankees make it 3-0 in the third. Chris Dickerson leads off with a double to left, followed by a walk to Ramiro Pena. With one out, Jack Cust hits an RBI single to center and later Francisco Cervelli hits a sacrifice fly to right.
Durham gets on the board in the fourth. Stephen Vogt leads off with a triple off the Blue Monster wall in left and scores on Henry Wrigley’s grounder to short.
But the visitors tack on two more in the fifth. Ronnier Mustelier leads off with a single to left followed by Cust’s double to right. With one out, Francisco Cervelli rips a two-run single to right.
The Yankees tack on some more off Josh Lueke in the seventh, as Branyan draws a leadoff walk and then Brandon Laird launches an 0-1 pitch high over the Blue Monster.
Durham shows some life off Ortiz in the seventh. Henry Wrigley leads off with a double to left and moves on Leslie Anderson’s single to right. Wrigley scores on Chris Gimenez’ fly to center and Anderson later scores on Reid Brignac’s fly to left to make it 7-3.
But the Yankees respond with two more in the seventh on Pena’s double and Branyan’s single.
Wrigley then makes it 9-4 with two out in the eighth, launching a 3-2 offering high into the Diamond View seats in right.
Branyan and Laird each finish with a homer and a single for three RBI while Mustelier has three singles to lead Buffalo’s 13-hit attack.
Wrigley – who was 4-for-5 with a homer in the series opener – homers, doubles and singles with two RBI for the Bulls.
Ortiz gets the quality start, going seven innings and allowing three runs on six hits with two strikeouts against one walk.
Pendleton goes 5 2/3 innings and allows five runs on nine hits, striking out seven against four walks in the loss.
They said it …
Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo: “We’re facing a good lineup, not making good pitches and falling behind. The last couple of games we’ve gotten hit hard. Ortiz had a lead, and what you do when you get a lead is throw strikes. He’s a veteran and did what he needed to do. Wrigley is swinging the bat good, and it’s good to see that. He’s getting his chance to show that he can play at this level and he’s doing it, so that’s great.”
Wrigley: “I’ve definitely felt very comfortable at the plate and I’m seeing the ball well. It’s where I want to be. It comes and goes, but it’s good to be able to see the ball well and when you get a good pitch hit it and put a good swing on it.”
What does it all mean?
That the Bulls again need something to happen to change their momentum.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Bulls: Lost 2.
Empire State: Won 4.
Bulls (Jim Paduch 2-3, 3.82) vs. Empire State (Nelson Figueroa 3-2, 4.41), Wednesday, 7:05 p.m.