Early forecast called for inclement weather, but the only thunder heard in Durham on Monday was the crack of the Bulls’ bats as they upended Louisville in the first of a four-game series at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Outfielder Wil Myers was pulled from Sunday’s contest after doubling and scoring a run in the first inning. The rumors and reason for his absence were finally revealed—Myers has been called up to Tampa Bay and is expected to make his major league debut today.
With such an intricate part of the Bulls’ offense bolting or the majors, the question of power hitting may have been in question. On Monday night the questions were answered—Durham has the ability to score runs without Myers in the lineup.
Behind designated hitter Shelley Duncan’s two home run blasts, one clearing the Blue Monster and the other slamming off the bull in left field, tallying for six RBIs, the Bulls scored often and early in a 16-3 rout of the Bats.
Duncan previously missed the last three games due to bereavement leave.
“The longer you’re away, the harder it is to get back,” Duncan said. “It’s a weird sport—it’s based on muscle memory. It’s a skill sport more than an athletic sport.”
Right-handed reliever Cory Wade (2-0) earned the win for the Bulls. Wade went two and two-thirds innings, surrendered three hits, one walk and struck out two.
The starting pitcher, Alex Colome, gave up five hits in two and one-thirds innings, struck out three batters and walked one.
First baseman Leslie Anderson and second baseman Mike Fontenot both played crucial roles in the offensive onslaught. Anderson finished 3-3, one of his hits being a triple, with three RBIs, extending his hitting streak to 11 games. Fontenot went 1-4 with a three-run homer in the sixth inning.
Anderson, Duncan and Fontenot were responsible for 12 of the team’s 16 runs. The Bulls went 9-for-15 with runners in scoring position.
“It’s good to see, for someone to go through what he’s going through and then come and have a good game,” manager Charlie Montoyo said. “That’s beautiful.”
Durham eight runs through the first two innings, but did give up two runs of their own in the second, distancing themselves from the Bats early. In the sixth and seventh inning they did the same, scoring eight runs in two innings putting the game out of reach for the Bats.
Louisville didn’t have an answer for the Bulls’ bats.
At one point, the Bats sent Corky Miller out to the mound, who had been catching for the majority of the game. Miller even received applause from the Bulls faithful.
With the win, Durham improved to 45-26 on the season, stretching its International League South Division lead to seven games over the Norfolk Tides.
The Bulls will be back in action tonight at the DBAP as they take on Louisville or the second game of a four-game series.
According to Montoyo, left-handed starter Mike Montgomery will make the start Tuesday. Montgomery transferred from Charlotte (high-A) on May 23.