On the very last day of the 2013 regular season, the Bakersfield Blaze nearly rode the colossal blasts of slugger Juan Duran to an improbable comeback, but ultimately fell to the Visalia Rawhide 6-4, ending the season in defeat.
The game started well for the Blaze for the second straight day, with Bakersfield putting four runners aboard in the 1st, and scoring twice. One of those runs was Duran's first longball of the day, a line drive rocket way over the fence in left.
The Rawhide did most of the damage from that point forward.
Blaze starter Fabian Williamson (L, 1-4) worked a scoreless 1st before running into control issues over the next two innings.
A three-walk bottom of the 2nd resulted in two Rawhide runs on a Raul Navarro double, and two more walks in the 3rd led to three Rawhide runs when a trifecta of singles and a throwing error turned the inning into a big rally. Visalia led 5-2.
Visalia starter Daniel Watts (W, 2-4) settled down after the rocky 1st, working out of a bases-loaded jam in the 3rd, and allowing just one additional run, a 5th-inning moonshot to Duran, his second dinger of the day.
The Rawhide plated one final run off Joey Housey in the 5th, going up 6-3 at the time. It was the first run allowed by Housey in his time with the Blaze, spanning 13 innings.
The only run left unacccounted for was Duran's final homer of the day, his third, and another whopper. Rawhide reliever Brad Allen left a fastball out over the plate, and Duran bashed it out to center.
It was quite a birthday for the young slugger out of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, and the three homer day pushed Duran's season total to an even 20.
Despite the effort, the Blaze did drop the finale, 6-4, as R.J. Hively (S, 14) worked the 9th for the save.