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Friday, May 25, 2012

Durham Bulls nearly no-hit by Norfolk Tides: Godzilla Day 9

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2012 at 6:00 AM

The Durham Bulls lost last night’s game to the Norfolk Tides 4-0. The stars of the game were: Tides starting RHP Miguel Gonzales, who no-hit the Bulls for five innings and faced only 16 batters before being lifted for a reliever in the sixth inning; Bulls starting right-hander Chris Archer, from nearby Clayton, who gave up five hits and three runs in six innings while striking out 12 and walking only two; and Tides first-baseman Joe Mahoney who hit a two-run triple into the right-center gap off an Archer off-speed pitch in the third inning. Yet, I have to...

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Doyle, Olmedo lead Charlotte over Bulls for series split

Posted By on Tue, May 22, 2012 at 4:57 PM

DURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK The Durham Bulls will finish their series against the Charlotte Knights with one of those “getaway day” afternoon games the International League seems to enjoy. Photo courtesy Durham BullsBulls outfielder Leslie AndersonBoth teams will be off on Wednesday, and both have home games on Thursday. The Bulls have a nice 14-10 record at home, and lead the current series 2 games to 1. “Matsui mania” remains alive and well at the ballpark. Hideki Matsui’s entourage of 35 Japanese media is still in the house, and will be remaining as long as the one nicknamed “Godzilla” is...

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Matsui gets it done, gives Bulls game-winning hit in 10th

Posted By on Mon, May 21, 2012 at 10:58 PM

File photo by Chris BairdBulls outfielder Hideki MatsuiDURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK The Durham Bulls will try to keep the home cooking going tonight, as they’ve won three of their last four at DBAP and are 13-10 in Durham this season. And despite the dropoff in attendance that’s certain to occur over the early weekdays, “Matsui mania” is still alive and well. Japanese slugger Hideki Matsui will be in his seventh game as a Bull after going 1-for-3 with a sac fly and a mad dash from first to score a run on Sunday against the Charlotte Knights.. Matsui’s entourage of...

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Torra's arm, Matsui's sprint, three HR lead Bulls in romp over Charlotte

Posted By on Sun, May 20, 2012 at 9:31 PM

DURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK It’s Day 6 of “Matsui Mania” with the Durham Bulls, and not only does the Japanese legend have some work to do at the plate but his team needs to do some bouncing back. Photo courtesy Durham BullsBulls pitcher Matt TorraHideki Matsui, whose every move is being followed by about three dozen Japanese journalists, is hitting only .111 as he tries to get back to the big leagues with the Tampa Bay Rays. And he went 0-for-4 the previous night, as the Bulls took a 7-1 whipping from the Charlotte Knights in the opener of their...

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Charlotte Knights down Durham Bulls: Commitment

Posted By on Sun, May 20, 2012 at 6:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM—It has been a big home stand at the DBAP, about as close to big-league as the environment ever gets at the ballpark. Hideki Matsui is here. Daisuke Matsuzaka and Kevin Youkilis came through, too, plus all the attendant media and excitement. The world has been watching. And last night offered more in the way of pageantry. Just two days after the historic Matsui-Matsuzaka meeting at the DBAP, Saturday was "one of the most important nights in the history of the Durham Bulls," as longtime PA announcer Tony Riggsbee, who donned a coat and tie for the occasion,...

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Feliciano's bases-loaded triple gives Bulls 6-5 win and series split

Posted By on Fri, May 18, 2012 at 11:25 PM

DURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK It’s the finale of that high-profile series with the Pawtucket Red Sox, and for the second straight night there’s a sellout crowd in the house. Photo courtesy Durham BullsBulls outfielder Jesus FelicianoThe Bulls finally – that’s for the first time in seven tries this season – beat the PawSox 5-0 on Thursday night by jumping on rehabilitating starter Daisuke Matsuzaka. Pawtucket’s other rehabbing star, slugger Kevin Youkilis, is back in the lineup tonight as the designated hitter. And the Bulls of course continue to hit Japanese legend Hideki Matsui, who seems to be at the moment...

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Hideki Matsui and Durham Bulls beat Daisuke Matsuzaka and Pawtucket Red Sox: Monster Matchup

Posted By on Fri, May 18, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Photo by D. L. AndersonThe Pawtucket Red Sox' Daisuke Matsuzaka warms up in the visitors bullpen at Durham Bulls Atheltic Park, May 17, 2012. DBAP/ DURHAM—"It felt like Opening Day," said Jim Paduch, the Independent League veteran who is only in Durham because Alex Torres finally pitched his way out of a starting job and who, with 10,000-plus on hand at the ballpark for an All Nippon Airways type showdown between two of Japan's most famous baseball players, ever, threw six shutout innings against the league's best team and made a loser of Daisuke Matsuzaka. The Bulls blanked the PawSox,...

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Youkilis and Pawtucket Red Sox beat Matsui and Durham Bulls: Posture

Posted By on Thu, May 17, 2012 at 11:08 AM

Photo by HAMediaCan you find Hideki Matsui in this picture? DBAP/ DURHAM—There are suddenly many more things to observe than usual at the DBAP. There is the riveting preoccupation of witnessing the difference—ineffable yet undeniably profound—between great major-leaguers like Hideki Matsui and Kevin Youkilis, and minor-leaguers like, well, almost everyone else on the field last night. There is the sideshow of the two dozen or so Japanese media members at the ballpark, doting on Matsui's every at-bat and word. There is the vexing surprise of attending to a team that, after five years of success, is quite simply bad—and attending...

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Matsui 0-for-4 in debut as Bulls drop opener to PawSox

Posted By on Wed, May 16, 2012 at 8:37 AM

Photo by Al DragoNew Durham Bull Hideki Matsui prepares for a pitch. DURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK There’s plenty of excitement around the Durham Bulls as they return home from a decent road trip and will now be starring a celebrity guest of sorts. Joining the Bulls on a minor-league contract with the Tampa Bay Rays and batting cleanup is Hideki Matsui, trying to make his way back to the big leagues after failing to get a contract following a .251-12-72 season with Oakland in 2011. The former Yankee and Yomiuri Giant will be playing his sixth regular-season minor-league game. Matsui’s...

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Durham Bulls Road Roundup, Vol. 8: Matsuimania!

Posted By on Tue, May 15, 2012 at 8:23 AM

Tampa Tribune, Cliff McBride / APHideki Matsui joins the Bulls tonight. The Durham Bulls return home tonight, after a 4-4 road trip to upstate New York, to start their second 10-game home stand of the season. At 7:05 p.m., they take on the IL North Division leaders, the Pawtucket Red Sox. It's the first game of the teams' annual four-game series at the DBAP. The Bulls are 15-24, still in last place in the IL South Division, 9.5 games behind Gwinnett. That is a deep hole to be in, and the Bulls have been in it for most of the...

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Durham Bulls split doubleheader with Norfolk Tides: Risk and Reward

Posted By on Mon, May 7, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Photo by Al DragoThe Bulls' Jesus Feliciano is congratulated by teammates in the dugout on May 6, 2012 at the DBAP. DBAP/ DURHAM—Well, not technically a doubleheader. The first game was the resumption of Saturday's prematurely rain-halted affair, and picked up Sunday at 4:05 p.m. in the top of the third inning. The score to that point was 3-0, Norfolk, whose first three batters of the game had all reached and scored in the first inning off of Matt Torra: leadoff homer (Xavier Avery), single, walk, double.The Tides went on to win, 5-2, which essentially meant that the 3-0 beginning...

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Durham Bulls Rain Suspended Friday Night: Cinco de Mayo at Geer Street

Posted By on Sun, May 6, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Durham/DBAP—The first pitch for yesterday’s game between the Durham Bulls and the Norfolk Tides was scheduled for 5:05pm. On my way to the game I stopped by a friend’s house in Old West Durham. At 4:30 I left for the game and made it only two blocks toward DBAP before buckets of rain came washing down. Sitting at a stop sign near Locopops on Hillsborough Road, I emailed Bull’s Media Relations Coordinator, Zach Weber, and asked him if he had an estimate on a new first pitch time (Bulls’ groundskeeper Scott Strickland is by necessity a functional meteorologist). Zach...

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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Durham Bulls thump Louisville Bats: Whirlwinds and Nathan Winds

Posted By on Sat, May 5, 2012 at 6:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM—I love these occasional games where in hindsight it seems necessary to have watched only a single inning in order to come away with a full sense of the outcome. Well, in this case, it was an inning plus one pitch. The Bulls beat the Bats, 7-1, last night, but it was a closer contest than that for much of the game. Durham led, 4-1, after five innings. They had dinged Louisville reliever Scott Carroll for three runs in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a few well-placed singles, a hit batter and a throwing error by Louisville...

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Durham Bulls beat Louisville Bats, win third straight: Small town

Posted By on Wed, May 2, 2012 at 11:34 PM

DBAP/ DURHAM—Minor-league life is small-town life. The stakes are lower, the pace is slower. Family drives it, and so does family business. The majors, on the other hand, are for millionaires and celebrities. What happens up there is for the ages. What happens here is for the locals. Durham is booming but it is still, in many ways, a small town. The decaying mansions adjacent and across from mine here in the resurgent downtown are rooming houses, have been for decades, and they haven't changed much. Tim, a resident of one of them, who looks to be in his mid-40's,...

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Durham Bulls Beat the Bats 5-4 in 10 innings: A Two Game Win Streak

Posted By on Wed, May 2, 2012 at 6:00 AM

DBAP/Durham—The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Durham County late this afternoon, causing a brief delay in the start of the Bulls game versus the Louisville Bats. The storm skirted north and east of downtown Durham — there were dark grey, wet clouds moving left to right beyond the office buildings on the other side of the outfield fence. The first pitch was only 12 minutes late, though, at 7:17 p.m. The question looming over this game was whether the Bulls could put together a two-game winning streak, after a nearly historic string of losses (13). Louisville...

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Monday, April 30, 2012

Matt Torra, Durham Bulls shut out Indianapolis Indians, snap club-record 13-game losing streak

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 6:48 PM

DBAP/ DURHAM—Durham Bulls outfielder Jesus Feliciano caught the final out of Matt Torra and Cesar Ramos' combined two-hit, 1-0 shutout of the Indianapolis Indians this afternoon. It was a fairly well-hit drive to center field by the dangerous Jeff Clement. Feliciano's catch came just a few minutes after he himself drove in the only run of the game with a double to right field that barely eluded the diving Brandon Boggs on the warning track. After the catch in center field ended the game, infielders Reid Brignac and Shawn O'Malley didn't high-five or shake hands. They hugged. Bulls manager Charlie...

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Things get worse as no-hitter produces record-tying 13th straight loss

Posted By on Sun, Apr 29, 2012 at 8:47 PM

DURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK Saying the Durham Bulls have been going through hard times this season would be quite the understatement.Photo by Chris BairdJustin Wilson went most of the way in a no-hitter against the reeling Bulls. The five-time defending South Division champions are in last place in the International League, and it’s been a steady progression to get there. Headed into Game 3 of their four-game home series with a decent Indianapolis Indians club, the Bulls have lost a club Triple-A record 12 straight games. And they’re one loss away from tying the all-time record – that’s going back...

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Durham Bulls Shut Out 2-0: When Will it Stop?

Posted By on Sun, Apr 29, 2012 at 6:00 AM

DBAP/Durham—The last time I covered the Durham Bulls was the night of April 10. They were shut out by the Charlotte Knights 5-0. After the game manager Charlie Montoyo joked that his older son Tyson said that his younger brother Alex had fallen asleep because the game was so boring. It was just one loss. No big deal. That’s baseball. The Bulls won an 11am start the next morning, April 11, and everything seemed normal. The team departed Durham for their first road trip with a 5-2 record. Granted, that looming trip was a monster: 14 games in 14 days...

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Indianapolis Indians' rout extends Durham Bulls losing streak to 11 games: One big blah

Posted By on Sat, Apr 28, 2012 at 6:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM—I think Durham Bulls reliever Marquis Fleming may have been looking for the phrase "one big blur" last night after the Bulls were crushed, 13-2, by the Indianapolis Indians. The loss was Durham's 14th in the last 15 games and the team's 11th in a row. They are two losses away from tying the club's all-time record for consecutive defeats. Fleming had been asked about how the pitchers were trying to recover as a group from a horrid spell that has puffed the team ERA all the way up to 6.29, one of the very worst marks in all...

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Devastation at last: Durham Bulls return home after disastrous 1-13 road trip

Posted By on Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 6:00 AM

The cruelest month... The Durham Bulls don't play today, and they are probably thankful for that. They returned late Wednesday night from a 14-game road trip that can only be called a total disaster. The Bulls lost 13 of the 14 games, including the last 10 in a row. To put it in perspective, that is the longest losing streak by a Durham Bulls team since the franchise joined the International League in 1998. Chances are good that it is also the longest losing streak in manager Charlie Montoyo's sparkling career, which dates back to 1997. I'm planning to ask...

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Durham Bulls Road Roundup, Vol. 7: There once was a man from Pawtucket

Posted By on Fri, Apr 20, 2012 at 2:24 PM

Well, this isn't going very well, is it? The Durham Bulls are just over halfway through a grueling, peripatetic 14-game (!) road trip. The yield from the first eight of these games has been alarming: one win, seven losses, all against division rivals Gwinnett and Charlotte (who swept the Bulls). By my calculations, the Bulls haven't had a 1-7 stretch since way back in 2009. If you want to look on the bright side, they wound up winning the championship that year. Some notes follow, but if you just want a quick snapshot of what ails the Bulls before you...

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Durham Bulls hold off Charlotte Knights: Teach Your Children

Posted By on Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 2:55 PM

DBAP/ DURHAM—The Bulls' 5-4 win over the Knights yesterday was an 11:00 a.m. affair, one of the "Education Day" early ones the Bulls schedule so as to accommodate school trips. One thing you notice is that most kids really don't know or seem able follow a baseball game at all, and that makes sense. Baseball's hallmark traits—slowness, complexity, contemplation—are pretty much the opposite of most kids' natural demeanor. But their presence yesterday helped shed some light, under the high midday sun, on one of the essentials of the ballplaying life. It has to do with teaching children. The Indy's publishing...

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Durham Bulls Shut Out 5-0: Not Some Kind of Wonderful

Posted By on Wed, Apr 11, 2012 at 6:00 AM

DBAP/Durham—I arrived in downtown Durham tonight around 6:15 p.m. for the 7:05 first pitch to be thrown by the Bulls’ ace right-hander Alex Cobb, against the Charlotte Knights in game two of a three-game series. I parked near the intersection of W. Morgan St. and the Downtown Loop in one of the curb spots that are free with unlimited after 6 p.m. There are closer places to park for a game, but it was 70 degrees and sunny and I wanted the fifteen-minute stroll. It’s not easy to stroll around the Downtown Loop (there are no sidewalks), so I hugged...

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Durham Bulls pound Charlotte Knights: Dan Johnson returns

Posted By on Tue, Apr 10, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Photo by Al DragoDan Johnson returned to the DBAP as a Charlotte Knight. DBAP/ DURHAM—Makes perfect sense that Dan Johnson came back to Durham Bulls Athletic Park and the Bulls scored a baker's dozen runs and drubbed Charlotte, 13-5. The man had a season of massive, almost unmatched run-producing power as a Bull in 2010. This was one of those games about which the less said the better, really, but to get the big stuff in: 18 hits, 15 of them singles. Brandon Guyer hit his second home run. Coupla doubles (Leslie Anderson and Juan Miranda, who got his first...

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Durham Bulls down Gwinnett Braves: Archery

Posted By on Mon, Apr 9, 2012 at 6:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM—Finally, after three nail-biters, an easy one. Well, easy enough, anyway. The Braves actually managed to get the tying run to the plate in the top of the ninth inning of the Bulls' 7-4 win. So that's a good measure of just how tight the games between the two teams have been: it's got to be a seesaw affair to qualify as a close one. This, though, was a 7-1 game from the sixth inning till the ninth, a big lead generated early by a five-run second inning for Durham. Chris Archer threw six strong innings of one-run, two-hit...

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