Amid threatening weather conditions in rained soaked Durham on Tuesday, 2,537 dedicated fans showed up at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park—for Bulls fans, it was worth the wet conditions as the team won in dramatic fashion.
Left-fielder Leslie Anderson ended the contest after a walk-off single to center field, scoring pinch runner Tim Beckham for 6-5 victory, and 3-1 series win, over the Columbus Clippers.
“It was good to see our offense come back and win that game,” manager Charlie Montoyo said. “We haven’t had a walk-off in a while. It always gets the team going.”
Much of the hype surrounding the game was Clippers starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-4), a former 18
game winner, for the Boston Red Sox, in the majors.
Matsuzaka or “Dice-K” went five innings giving up seven hits, five runs three walks and struck out three batters.
For the Bulls, right-handed starter Merrill Kelly (2-0) took the mound but didn’t earn a decision in the victory. The 24-year-old righty went six innings, gave up two runs on four hits, walked three batters and fanned four.
“Since I’ve been up here I’ve just slowed the game down as much as possible and take one pitch at a time,” Kelly said. “I feel like for the first five innings tonight I was kind of rushing and getting ahead of myself, but I was able to calm down there towards the end and finish it off.”
From the opening frame the Bulls looked in control, even from the opening at bat. Newcomer, and outfielder, Evan
Frey recorded a single, his first hit as a Bull.
According to Montoyo, Frey will be leading off “a lot” for the team.
The next two batters would both earn RBIs en route to an early 2-0 lead.
Shortstop Cole Figueroa doubled to right field scoring Frey, and third baseman Vince Belnome singled to center which scored Figueroa.
Anderson, the star of the game, tallied his first RBI of the game after he drilled a home run, his eleventh of the year, to right field in the bottom of the fourth inning to extend the Bulls lead to three runs. He went 2-4 with two RBIs in Tuesday's contest.
Through 73 games this season, Anderson is batting .323 with 46 RBIs.
After Anderson’s blast, the teams scored a combined seven runs in the next three innings.
Through four clean frames Kelly and company looked in control, but in the fifth inning Columbus scored two runs cutting the lead to 3-2.
First baseman Shelley Duncan answered in the sixth, reclaiming a three-run lead with a two-run bomb over the “Blue Monster” for his ninth of the year.
Again, the Clippers had an answer following a Bulls score. Relievers Steve Geltz and Jeff Beliveau shared time in the top of the seventh, after Kelly exited, and didn’t fare well giving up three runs to tie the game.
In the bottom of the frame Duncan had a chance to put Durham ahead, with two aboard, but came up short.
However, three innings later Duncan doubled off the wall in left field, putting Beckham on third with Anderson coming to plate. Anderson answered and was mobbed by his teammates after singling to center field to win the game.
The Bulls will travel to Charlotte to take on the Knights today at 7:15 p.m. Right-handed starter Matt Buschmann (2-0, 2.93) will take on Knights starter Erik Johnson (1-0. 2.08).
Box score is here
Left-handed pitcher C.J. Riefenhauser was called up from AA-Montgomery on Saturday. He went 4-0, with a 0.52 ERA, and 11 saves for the Biscuits
Right-handed pitcher Ramon Ramirez was signed as a free agent and sent to the temporary inactive list. Ramirez has pitched for the Rockies, Royals, Red Sox, Giants and Mets. He is 23-21 with a 3.42 ERA and nine saves in his eight season of MLB service.
Right-handed pitcher Will Inman (0-2, 6.57) was released on Monday
According Montoyo, right-handed pitcher Alex Colome, recently assigned to the team from Tampa Bay, will more than likely be headed to the 10-day disabled list after suffering an elbow injury.