Season: 33-23; Home Stand: 1-0
Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun
For thrilling baseball, last night’s 8th and 9th innings were hard to beat. So let’s look at the game back-to-front.
Adam Liberatore came on in the 8th with a 5-3 lead. He’s been terrific this year and we expected a quiet inning. Kirby Yates was starting to warm up for the 9th. The Bulls had the game in hand. In fact, I was thinking about getting out of the parking deck ahead of the DPAC crowd. Two singles and a walk later, the bases were loaded on just 14 pitches and nobody was out as the heart of the IronPigs batting order was coming up. Cue the hook and Kirby Yates came in seeking a two-inning, 6-out save. I don’t think he has faced quite so perilous a situation this year.
Mr. Yates K’d the first batter, but the second reached on a error by Hak-Ju Lee that scored a run. Bases still loaded. Still one out. Score now 5-4. Next batter: K. Next batter: fly ball to Mahtook in center field. Out of the inning. Breath.
The 9th was almost anti-climatic, although Yates did return having already thrown 18 pitches. That gave me something to worry about. But the first batter hit a fly ball to Mahtook; the next watched the third strike go by; the next also flew out to Mahtook. Save #14 for Yates, best in the IL. Game trivia: 3 out of six Yates’ outs were fly balls to Mikie Mahtook.
Otherwise, Mike Montgomery had a brilliant no-hit five innings, then unravelled in the 6th. His pitch count wasn’t all that high, still, looking back, would not have hurt to come out after the single and the BB that started the inning. The three runs that scored tied the game and he left with a no-decision. For his one out that ended the 6th Jake Thompson got another win, because Curt Casali showed why the Rays like him with a booming home run over the bull that brought in the two runs that made all the difference.
Outside the game —
- Alex Colome is back from his 50 game suspension and will start tonight. Apparently Merrill Kelly will go back into a long relief role. The Bulls will need him there since Enny Romero and/or Colome are likely to be in need of a long reliever.
- I missed the fact that Mikie Mahtook leads the International League in doubles with 19 (he got another one last night). He’s also tied for the league lead in triples with 5. Impressive.
- Cole Figueroa was in the dugout. I’d guess we will see him tonight.
- Terrific story over at DNA of Sports on Ali Solis, the Bulls catcher recently called up to warm up Rays pitchers. (That’s not quite fair, but he has still not had an AB and he’s been there 3 or 4 days). He did get in last night’s game as a pinch runner (!) and stayed to catch the bottom of the 10th.