PAWTUCKET – This was certainly not the way the Pawtucket Red Sox wanted to end their four-game series with the Durham Bulls.
Locked in a tight game for six innings on Sunday afternoon, the Bulls cut loose with nine runs in the final three frames to cruise past the PawSox, 13-3, before 6,318 at McCoy Stadium. Durham collected 16 hits in the three-plus hour affair, including a three-run homer from Felipe Lopez in the ninth.
Durham scored eight of its runs with two outs, while the PawSox were just 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
“We had some opportunities, but you got to execute,” PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler said. “They had some opportunities and they kind of executed and got the two-out hits. Two-out hits will win you ballgames and we didn't get any of those today when we needed them with runners on base. That's how they opened the game up.”
The PawSox finished with eight hits with five of those knocks coming on doubles. Only two of those two-baggers did any damage with Tony Thomas and Ron Bermudez each driving in runs in a two-run sixth inning that got Pawtucket within a run at 4-3.
In the top of the seventh, however, it was a big double from the Bulls' J.J. Furmaniak that broke the game open for the Bulls. After Durham took a 5-3 lead in the inning on a sacrifice fly by Russ Canzier, Furmaniak followed with a base-clearing three RBI double to jack the lead to 8-3.
PawSox starter Matt Fox (6 2/3 innings, seven hits, seven earned runs) was the victim of all but one of those runs, despite a relative strong outing for the first six innings. Durham put the game out of reach with two more runs in the eighth and three in the ninth.
“(Fox) was a couple of pitches away [from getting out of trouble] and just couldn't minimize the one inning there,” Beyeler said. “Even that, we were in a close game. They got a couple of two-outs hits...They swung the bats and got some bigger hits and it kind of blew the game open.”
Pawtucket's relief core didn't help matters in the latter innings. Familiar face Dennis Neuman, who was just added to the roster on Sunday from Single-A Greenville after a two-week stint with the PawSox in May, lasted just a third of an inning in the seventh. He allowed three runs on three hits and walked three. Jeremy Kehrt hurled the final two innings and yielded three runs on three hits. All of his runs came on Lopez's blast in the ninth.
“We are actually kind of short in the pen,” said Beyeler, whose squad had their five-game winning streak snapped on Saturday with an 11-8 setback to the Bulls.”We lost Milly [Andrew Miller] and Oakey (Hideki Okajama) has been down with a tooth issue. He was kind of available today, but maybe not. But he'll be okay tomorrow. We had to work extra long last night. That saved us Bodie [Michael Bowden] for today. It just never got to the position where we could get there today. That's how it works here. The guys went out there and gave other guys the opportunity to step up and do some things. Last time Neuman was here he threw very well for us. Today, [Durham] just swung the bats.
Fox (5-4) was motoring along the first three innings, retiring nine of the first 10 batters he faced with four strikeouts. But he ran into trouble in the fourth that began with back-to-back hits, including an RBI double to left field fence by Lopez. After striking out Dan Johnson for his first out, Durham loaded the bases with Russ Canzier drawing a walk and Leslie Anderson getting hit by a pitch. Furmaniak gave the Bulls a 3-0 advantage with an RBI single.
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, the PawSox got on the scoreboard, too. After a walk by Tony Thomas, Brent Dlugach put runners on the corners with a line-drive single to center field. He was followed by a run-scoring single from Ronald Bermudez.
The Bulls scored again in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Johnson to plate Dan Mayora (single).
Pawtucket was able to close the gap at 4-3 in the sixth with two more runs, courtesy of run-scoring doubles from Thomas and Bermudez.
The PawSox scored twice in the sixth with Thomas (double) and Bermudez (single) driving in runs. But the Bulls were able to settle the verdict in the seventh with their four runs.
Mayora (four hits), Lopez (three hits, five RBI), Anderson (two hits, run), Furmaniak (three RBI) and John Matula (two hits, two RBI) fueled the offense for Durham.
Pawtucket had multiple-hit efforts from Lars Anderson (two hits), Thomas (two hits, two runs, RBI) and Bermudez (two hits, two RBI).
EXTRA BASES: The PawSox begin a four-game series with the first-place Lehigh Valley IronPigs, beginning tonight at 7:05. The Sox send lefthander Felix Dubront (1-3, 3.38) to the mound, while Scott Mathieson (0-0, 2.88) gets the nod for the IronPigs...The return of shortstop Jose Iglesias could be soon. Iglesis has been on the DL since July 5, just a day after he suffered a mild concussion after getting beaned in the head by a pitch against Rochester. “He should be ready to go by the end of the week,” Beyeler said. “Maybe before we leave [for Buffalo on Friday], if we are lucky and probably shortly thereafter if he keeps progressing. He's going to take BP on the field [Monday]. He's doing some activity now.”
Durham 000 310 423 - 13-16-0
Pawtucket 000 102 000 - 3-8-0
Matt Fox, Denis Neuman (6), Jeremy Kehrt (6) and Luis Exposito. Brian Baker, Mike Ekstrom (5) and Craig Albermaz 2B – P, Che-Hsuan Lin, Tony Thomas 2, Lars Anderson, Ron Bermudez. D, Russ Canzier, Dan Mayora. HR – D, Felipe Lopez. LOB – P 9. D 9. RISP – P, 2-11. D, 5-17. A – 6,318.