Odorizzi's pitching helps Bulls take tight Game 1

csmith@newsobserver.comSeptember 4, 2013 

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    E—Beckham, Flores. LOB–Indianapolis 7, Durham 5. 2B–Beckham, Kiermaier. SB–Beckham (1). CS—Goedert.
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— If fans came to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Wednesday night looking for offense, they were sorely disappointed. What they got was a pitcher’s duel between two major league prospects that resulted in a combined four hits through the first seven innings.

But in the eighth inning, Kevin Kiermaier hustled out a double that fell in shallow and later scored on a Tim Beckham one-out single that found its way through the right side of the infield. That would ultimately be the winning run in a 2-0 win against the Indianapolis Indians.

“Whatever we’ve got to do to get that W, we’re going to do it,” Beckham said. “We won a lot of games in the regular season, but that was the regular season. … We’re going to build off of this win and have momentum going into every game.”

The first RBI of the night came on Beckham’s third hit of the game. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 MLB Draft led off the game with a single and had a double in the sixth to finish 3 for 4.

Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo described the game as a “nail-biter” and said it was the most exciting of the year.

“He’s having a good year,” Montoyo said of Beckham. “Somebody’s got to step up and he did that today offensively. Hopefully tomorrow somebody else will as well as him.”

It was Jake Odorizzi’s fourth career postseason start and his third in Game 1 of a series. His nine strikeouts were the most he’s thrown in a postseason game and matched his second-highest total of the year behind his 11 strikeouts against Norfolk in his final outing of the regular season.

Outside of a shaky final frame in which he surrendered two consecutive walks to load the bases following an error, Odorizzi had an outstanding night, pitching seven innings of one-hit, shutout baseball.

Odorizzi was able to escape the seventh after two errors and two walks on what he believed were questionable calls behind the plate. Odorizzi appeared frustrated, shaking his head as a chorus of boos came from the stands.

“I thought a few balls were close … but I’m not the umpire so I can’t do anything about it,” he said. “I thought some could have gone either way. … We scored the two runs that next inning, so I thought that was a momentum shifter.”

Closer Kirby Yates came in for the ninth inning, shut the door on the Indians and gave the Bulls a 1-0 lead in the series.

The Bulls and Indians will play again on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. in Durham as the Bulls’ Co-Pitcher of the Year J.D. Martin (16-4, 2.75 ERA) toes the rubber against the Indians’ Graham Godfrey (7-5, 3.99).

Smith: 919-829-4841; @RCorySmith

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