by Mike Potter
DURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK The Durham Bulls mixed in a win last time out, and following a long rain delay they’ll try for a second straight against another team going through a tough stretch.
Tonight Lance Pendleton (2-2, 3.55) will take the hill against Thad Weber (4-4, 3.05).
Pendleton doesn’t get the win, but he does get the offense he needs for a positive result, as Reid Brignac’s first career grand slam is the centerpiece of a five-run second-inning rally that sparks a 6-3 win.
The Mud Hens jump on Pendleton in the first, as Brad Eldred follows a two-out walk to Ryan Strieby by launching a 3-2 offering about 450 feet to right center. And they add another in the second as Ben Guez singles and steals second, eventually scoring on Justin Henry’s grounder to short.
But the Bulls respond with five in the bottom of the frame. Leslie Anderson walks, newcomer Brandon Allen is hit by a pitch and Matt Mangini walks before Reid Brignac launches a 2-2 offering into the right-field seats. Shawn O’Malley reaches on a one-out bunt single to second, followed by Rich Thompson’s RBI double to left.
The Bulls add another run in the fifth as Thompson leads off with an infield hit and scores on Jesus Feliciano’s grounder to second.
Weber lasts just 1 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on three hits with one strikeout and three walks.
Pendleton goes four innings and allows three runs – two earned – on four hits with three strikeouts against two walks. Ryan Reid (3-0) gets the win and Brandon Gomes his sixth save of the season.
Thompson doubles and singles as the only Bull with multiple hits.
They said it …
Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo: “Just like we like it. And we almost played a day-night tomorrow. Nobody likes those. Brignac’s hit was great. The night didn’t start very good – we were down 3-0 and you go ‘Oh, here we go.’ But that was huge. We came back. Pendleton didn’t have it, but he kept us in the game and our relievers were awesome.”
Brignac: “Down 3-0 and it was my first career grand slam, so I’m pretty excited about that. He came in a couple of times early and got strike calls and then went away a couple pitches. So I told myself to get ready a little earlier in case he does come in again and I could foul it off and get another pitch.”
Pendleton: “It wasn’t my best, but it could have been worse than it was. I was able to limit the damage, but I would like to have gotten a couple more innings and saved the bullpen. It’s what I had tonight. The lift we got from Reid’s homer was amazing. All of a sudden we had the lead and I just had to go out and keep fighting and get some more outs.”
What does it all mean?
That the Bulls may have the beginnings of a winning streak?
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Brignac’s grand slam.
Bulls: Won 2.
Toledo: Lost 2.
Bulls lead 2-1.
Bulls (Jim Paduch 2-4, 4.35) vs. Toledo (Andy Oliver 3-5, 3.93, Tuesday, 12:05 p.m.