Pawtucket downs Durham Bulls to take series lead

csmith@newsobserver.comSeptember 10, 2013 

— In the first round of the International League Playoffs, the Durham Bulls swept the Indianapolis Indians. The last time they faced the Pawtucket Red Sox in the Governor’s Cup Finals, 2003, they swept that series, too.

Tuesday night, however, ensured no sweep this time by the Bulls.

Durham was stifled by Anthony Ranaudo and the Pawtucket bullpen, scoring just one run and to fall 2-1. It was the Bulls’ first loss in the International League playoffs and made them 0-1 in the 2013 Governor’s Cup Finals.

“We lost a nail-biter,” Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo said. “Usually we win them, but they won it how we win them: They made big plays at the end and got the clutch hit.”

Ranaudo, the Red Sox No. 6 prospect and No. 4 pitcher, faced off with perennial major league call-up Jake Odorizzi, Tampa Bay No. 2 prospect and No. 39 prospect in MLB. Neither disappointed.

Ranaudo gave up just one run, coming in the second inning, but was trumped by Odorizzi’s second stellar outing of the playoffs. Odorizzi pitched seven shutout innings with seven strikeouts, one walk and four hits.

“(My outing) didn’t go to no avail,” Odorizzi said. “We had our chances, we had plenty of chances to tie it up, but things just didn’t go our way.”

Mike Fontenot got things started for the Bulls in the second inning with a leadoff double, his first hit of the playoffs. Fontenot moved to third on a sac bunt and later scored on a Jesus Flores sac fly.

The Bulls were trying for more in the seventh inning, but with two outs and runners on first and third, Jason Bourgeois drilled an inside pitch into the left center gap that was snagged by a diving Justin Henry.

Henry then led off top of the eighth and singled off reliever Jeff Beliveau. The center fielder later scored the first run for the Red Sox, and Heiker Meneses scored the winning run on a Brock Holt single that was just out of reach for Fontenot as it rolled off his glove into the outfield.

Holt then make his second diving stop in two innings to hold the Bulls scoreless in the eighth and maintain the lead.

“He made three big plays tonight, and he got the big hit, too,” Montoyo said. “He was their hero.”

Durham rallied late in the bottom of the ninth with Tim Beckham’s second single, a Nelson Figueroa single and a Bourgeois intentional walk. However, neither Shelly Duncan nor Brandon Guyer came through for the tying run. The Bulls left 13 runners on base after stranding the bases loaded.

Durham faces Pawtucket again Wednesday night at the DBAP as Bulls ace J.D. Martin faces right-handed knuckleballer Steven Wright. First pitch set for 7:05 p.m.

Smith: 919-829-4841; @RCorySmith

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