by Mike Potter
DURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK It’s the finale of a four-game series between the Bulls and the Toledo Mud Hens, and Durham is looking to get a little momentum.
Jim Paduch (2-4, 4.35) will take the hill for Durham against southpaw Andy Oliver (3-5, 3.93) as the Bulls go into an off-day Wednesday before heading out on an eight-game road trip to the North Division.
Toledo bangs out 15 hits, gaining a split of the series with an 8-3 win.
From the outset it just doesn’t seem to be Paduch’s day.
Toledo scores twice in the first on a pair of hits and a walk, with the centerpiece of the rally an RBI double from Rob Brantly.
And the visitors add three more in the second, on Brent Dlugach’s two-run homer over the Blue Monster and then Ryan Raburn’s solo shot over the same wall to chase Paduch and bring on Alex Torres.
The Mud Hens add another run in the third on Ben Guez’ single before the Bulls respond in the bottom of the frame. Shawn O’Malley leads off with a double and then scores on a single from Cole Figueroa, who later comes home on Henry Wrigley’s sacrifice fly to right.
Toledo makes it 7-2 in the fourth on a Ryan Strieby single.
O’Malley cuts the margin back to four in the fifth, leading off by launching a 1-1 offering over the Monster.
But the Mud Hens get an insurance run in the seventh on a Dlugach single.
Dlugach leads the Mud Hens with two hits including his homer for three RBI, while Brantly finishes with three hits including a double and two RBI.
Oliver goes 6 2/3 in the win, allowing three runs on six hits with five strikeouts against four walks.
O’Malley leads the Bulls with the homer and double.
Paduch lasts just 1 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on four hits with a strikeout and two walks.
They said it …
Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo: “Guess what? Our starter struggled. They’re not giving us a chance. Most of the time we win when we’re close. O’Malley did OK, but he made a couple of bad plays in the field. It’s got to be a team thing to get out of this, and it’s got to start on the mound. We’ve got too many guys underachieving.”
O’Malley: “It’s been a while. It felt good to put some good swings on the ball, finally. I was getting my foot down early and seeing the ball well. I was just trying to put the barrel on the ball, and when you do that good things can happen.”
What does it all mean?
That the Bulls will have a hard time getting better until their starting pitching does.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Bulls: Lost 1.
Toledo: Won 1.
Bulls (Chris Archer 3-8, 5.04) at Lehigh Valley (Pat Misch 3-8, 4.91), Thursday, 7:05 p.m.