by Mike Potter
DURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK It’s the second game of a short two-game series with the Norfolk Tides, and the Bulls are looking for a win in their last chance to play at home in quite a while.
Taking the hill for the Bulls will be lefty Alex Torres (3-3, 6.52), who has had plenty of ups and downs this season. Tommy Hunter (1-0, 1.29) will pitch for Norfolk.
The Tides get the advantage with a huge first inning. With one out Nate McLouth doubles to right, followed by Steve Tolleson’s single to right. Bill Hall’s grounder to second scores McLouth, followed by Brandon Waring’s RBI single to left. L.J. Hoes then blasts an 0-1 offering just over the Blue Monster wall in left.
Durham gets a run in the third as Shawn O’Malley reaches on a fielder’s choice ball to second, advances on Cole Figueroa’s single to right and scores on Jesus Feliciano’s single to left.
The Bulls cut it to 4-3 in the fourth on back-to-back pitches, as Brandon Allen launches the first pitch of the inning into the right-field bleachers before Henry Wrigley hits the top of the Blue Monster wall in left center.
But they can’t seem to stand prosperity. In the fifth, McLouth draws a one-out walk followed by a Tolleson single before Hall launches a 3-0 pitch into the right-field bleachers.
Durham cuts the lead in half in the seventh. Wrigley draws a leadoff walk, followed by a single to right from Reid Brignac and an RBI single to center from Chris Gimenez to chase Hunter and bring on Andy Loomis. O’Malley then singled to center to make it 7-5.
But the Tides put it away in the eighth off Romulo Sanchez. Hoffman leads off with a single, and then scores when Lew Ford launches a two-out, 1-1 pitch over the Blue Monster. McLouth follows by launching an 0-2 offering into the right-field seats to make it 10-5.
Tolleson finishes with three hits for the Tides while Hall has four RBI. Hunter goes five innings and allows five runs on seven hits with six strikeouts against three walks to get the decision, with Miguel Socolovich collecting the save.
O’Malley is the only Bull with two hits.
They said it …
Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo: “We battled back to make it a game, but then they put it out of reach. I’m glad Wrigley’s doing well. People might have doubted he could play at Triple-A or higher, but he’s got big-time power. He’s going to get a chance to play. He’s doing a good job.”
Wrigley: “I feel good up there. I’m getting good pitches to hit and putting good swings on them.”
O’Malley: “It’s nice to feel comfortable from both sides of the plate for once. Everyone’s swinging the bat real well.”
What does it all mean?
That the Bulls came up short in a chance to move to within three games of .500.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Bulls: Lost 1.
Norfolk: Won 1.
Bulls (Matt Torra 7-6, 4.43) at Gwinnett (Todd Redmond 6-5, 3.23), Friday, 7:05 p.m.