by Mike Potter
DURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK The Durham Bulls return home to start their penultimate homestand of the season, taking on their old rival Gwinnett Braves.
Of particular interest is the continuing rehab stint of Evan Longoria, who is playing his first home game for the Bulls since Sept. 1, 2009. Longoria is 3-for-17 in six games for Durham this season.
Chris Archer (5-8, 4.43) will pitch for the Bulls tonight against southpaw Yohan Flande (5-7, 4.17).
It’s a stellar pitchers’ duel throughout, and Archer picks up the win as the Bulls collect their second straight 1-0 victory.
Both pitchers get up zeroes in the first four innings before the Bulls finally scratch in the fifth. Nevin Ashley draws a leadoff walk, advancing to third when Rich Thompson singles to center and Jose Constanza boots the grounder.
Ashley crosses the plate when Brooks Conrad, playing in his first game as a Bull, hits a double-play ball to short.
And that’s all the scoring.
The Bulls finish with singles from seven different players while Gwinnett has only four hits including a double from Jack Wilson.
Archer goes six innings and allows three hits, striking out three without a walk. After Brandon Gomes goes two innings, Dane De La Rosa strikes out three in the ninth for his 13th save.
Flande also has a quality outing, going six innings and allowing five hits while striking out seven against four walks.
After the game Will Rhymes is promoted to Tampa Bay, while pitcher Alex Colome is promoted from Montgomery.
They said it …
Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo: “It starts with a good starter. The starters are doing a good job and the bullpen is very good. Gomes is looking like he has from years past. Archer was very good. He was down in the zone with all his pitches, and when you throw that hard with that good slider you’re going to get people out.”
Archer: “I’d probably say that was my best outing here. I was so efficient with my pitches. I kept my team in the game and did a good job. It’s awesome because all the work (pitching coach) Neil Allen and I have been doing is starting to pay off. I’m not complacent by any means, but I’m happy with the progression over the course of the season.”
Longoria: “I’m feeling good. Today was the first day I felt my legs were underneath me at the end of the game. It’s kind of like a second spring training for me right now after sitting around for three months. It just takes some time to get your legs back in baseball shape and not feel real fatigued when the game’s over. That’s the first time in a long time. The process has been frustrating at times, but I know what I need to do to get healthy and stay back. When it does get frustrating I remember what I’m doing it for and what’s important.”
What does it all mean?
That the Bulls’ pitching staff is currently on fire.
Stars of the game
2. De La Rosa.
Play of the game
Thompson’s single to move the runner in the fifth.
Bulls: Won 2.
Gwinnett: Lost 1.
Bulls lead 12-10.
Bulls (Alex Colome 0-0, 0.00) vs. Gwinnett (Miguel Batista 1-0, 3.60), Friday, 7:05 p.m.