Game 77: Durham Bulls 3, Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs 2
Season: 46-31; Home Stand (11 games): 3-1
We haven’t had a 9th inning like that this year. A one-out two-run double by J. J. Furmaniak and we could all go home. Terrific end to a hot day at the park.
We’ve only had one other walk-off this year and that was at the end of that miserable 12 inning game against Charlotte on April 21st.
Mr. J.J. Furmaniak started the year on the disabled list and then spent some time in Montgomery (and took some time off to attend to the birth of a child), so we haven’t seen much of him this year. He played for the Iron Pigs so probably knows a little about their style. He’s got something like 10 years under his belt, and this may be his best season yet at bat.
What matters about today’s game, however, is the fact that he got all the RBI! The Bulls didn’t get a run across until the 7th, when Desmond Jennings got a two-out double and J.J. got him across with a single. Then came the bottom of the 9th.
Fernando Perez struck out looking. Jose Lobaton pinch hit for Omar Luna (presumably to put a left-handed bat against right handed reliever Vogelsong). Lobaton got a single, and Angel Chavez came in as a pinch runner (again presumably because Jose has been favoring a knee lately). Chavez was already running when Jennings singled, so he made it to third.
Cue the trumpets.
J. J. doubled to deep center field and Jennings easily made it around from first for the walk off.
Richard De Los Santos had a very good start on a really warm day. He basically worked himself out of trouble in the two-run fourth when a runner reached on a Joe Dillon error, three singles later, two runs had scored. However, doing his job backing up home plate, De Los Santos got an out on a runner trying to get to third, and picked another off first base to end the inning. Because of the heat, in my notes I was questioning Montoyo’s decision to leave Richard in for the 6th inning. Shows you what I know. De Los Santos pitched 1-2-3 6th and 7th innings, leaving after one out in the 8th. Darin Downs made his first Durham appearance and didn’t look particularly impressive, but he’s a lefty, didn’t let anyone score, and got the win. So let’s hold off judgment.
Pleased to see Dioner Navarro in a Bulls uniform. Interesting difference in how things work going “up” to Tampa Bay — Matt Joyce going up had his first at bats last Friday, June 25th — and coming “down” to Durham — Navarro coming down was suited up just today June 28, so I guess he could have played. He did get Downs warmed up for the 8th. Navarro has never been to Durham before, except for that exhibition game back on April 3. Can’t seem to get to the box score for that, we’ll just have to assume he was playing catcher that day. We’ll have to see how it works out. Guess it depends on him. He could add a lot to the team.
The Louisville Bats are in town tomorrow. We split a 4 game series with them in Louisville on the road trip. The Bats were last in Durham for the first round of the 2009 Governors’ Cup playoffs, September 9 and 10. Several familiar names in the box scores including Dillon, Jennings, Ruggiano, Joyce, Elliot Johnson, Hellickson, Abreu, and Bateman.
Update: Just noticed this podcast on the Bulls site. It is Mr. Furmaniak from a couple of days ago. Worth a listen.