The Durham Bulls rallied in the ninth inning and then won on Jason Bourgeois' bases-loaded walk-off single in the eleventh to beat the Toledo Mud Hens 4-3 in the opening game of a four-game series Tuesday night at the DBAP.
The Mud Hens jumped on starting pitcher J.D. Martin early, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. Right fielder Ben Guez hit a 3-1 fastball over the Blue Monster for his second home run of the year. Toledo scored its second run when designated hitter John Lindsay doubled in Jordan Lennerton. After giving up three hits in the first though, Martin settled down and allowed just three more over the next five innings. His 6 innings and 92 pitches were season highs.
Meanwhile, the Bulls clawed back and tied the score with runs in the bottom of the first and third innings against Toledo starter Jose Alvarez. Alvarez hit second baseman Mike Fontenot with a pitch, who then advanced to third on a single by Wil Myers and scored on a Chris Gimenez single. Myers' extended his on-base streak to 16 straight games.
In the third, Fontenot reached again, this time on an error by second baseman Gustavo Nunez on a hard-hit ground ball. Myers doubled him in for his 13th RBI. After that, Bulls bats went silent through the eighth inning, as Alvarez and two Toledo relievers retired 15 straight Durham batters.
Toledo regained the lead when Tigers top prospect Nick Castellanos led off the eighth by hitting the first pitch he saw from Steve Geltz over the Blue Monster. It was Castellanos' first homer of the year and snapped a 1 for 14 slump. Toledo entered the game with an International League low seven home runs on the season, but hit two in one game for the first time since April 10.
Toledo closer Bruce Rondon was called up to Detroit earlier in the day, so manager Phil Nevin sent Jess Todd out for the ninth inning. With one out, Gimenez singled and Brandon Guyer walked. Third baseman Cole Figueroa doubled Gimenez home to tie the score. Durham loaded the bases with one out, but Todd was able to escape the jam and send the game to extras.
The Durham bullpen made sure that Toledo couldn't get anything started in extras. Kirby Yates struck out the side in the tenth, and winning pitcher Josh Lueke (W, 2) fanned the first two batters in the eleventh.
Durham's first three batters reached base in the bottom of the eleventh against eventual losing pitcher Matt Hoffman (0-1). Gimenez doubled and Guyer was walked intentionally. Figueroa was hit on the hand and awarded first base while attempting to bunt. Nevin came out of the Toledo dugout to argue the call and was ejected by home plate umpire A.J. Johnson. Hoffman retired Tim Beckham and Rich Thompson, but Bourgeois lined a 1-0 pitch into center field to plate Guyer with the game winner. The win moved the first-place Bulls to 13-6 and dropped Toledo to 6-14.
The Bulls and Mud Hens will be back at it Wednesday afternoon. Durham right-hander Jake Odorizzi (0-0, 3.18) faces Toledo RHP Shawn Hill (0-1, 2.22) in a 1:05 P.M. start.