Bulls trample Clippers 3-1
Durham opens up four-game series with close 3-1 win
DURHAM- Behind the strong performance of right-hander Jake Odorizzi, the Durham Bulls defeated the Columbus Clippers 3-1 in the first affair of a four-game series Saturday.
Odorizzi (6-1, 3.23 ERA) was dominant all night, tossing 6 1/3 innings and allowing one run on five hits with seven strikeouts and just one walk. Relievers Josh Lueke pitched the following 1 2/3 frames and closer Kirby Yates came on in the ninth to secure the win for the Bulls.
Starter Joe Martinez was originally slated to make the start for the Clippers but was recalled to Cleveland midday and subsequently earned his first victory for the Tribe in a 4-3 triumph over the Chicago White Sox.
Instead, right-hander Paolo Espino (0-4, 5.81 ERA) took the mound for Columbus and had a solid outing despite taking the loss. Over 5 2/3 innings, Espino surrendered three runs on six hits with four punch outs and no free passes.
Durham struck first in the bottom of the fourth and never looked back. With two outs, first baseman Vince Belnomebounced a single into left field. Former Indian and left fielder Shelley Duncan then roped a double to left to place runners in scoring position. In the next at-bat, right fielder Leslie Anderson lined a two-RBI base hit into center to give the Bulls a 2-0 lead.
They added another run in the fifth to go up 3-0. Center fielder Brandon Guyer started things by dribbling a single into left field and then swiped second base. Second baseman Mike Fontenot followed with a groundout to first to advance Guyer to third. Catcher Jesus Flores then dropped an RBI single to left to put Durham up 3-0.
Columbus got on the board with a run in the top of the seventh but that was all the offense could muster. After right fielder Jeremy Hermida popped out to second, first baseman Chun Hsiu-Chen smacked a base knock to left to put runners on first and second. Third baseman Juan Diaz followed by stroking a two-bagger to center to bring Chen home and make it a 3-1 game.
Two Clippers had multi-hit performances. Diaz tallied three hits on the night with two doubles and a single, raising his batting average from .219 to .228. Left fielder Ezequiel Carrera collected two singles.
With the loss, Columbus falls to 37-46 and Durham boosts their record to 51-32 with the victory.
The Clippers starter for game two of the series is still to be determined and Bulls righty Mike Montgomery (4-1, 3.98 ERA) will oppose him. The first pitch is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. Sunday.