The IL South champion Durham Bulls came up short in a pitchers' duel against the Norfolk Tides, losing 2-0 Sunday in front of a paid crowd of 10,233 at the DBAP. The Tides, shut out by the Bulls on Saturday, returned the favor Sunday by allowing only five hits.
Bulls starter Mike Montgomery (L, 7-7, 4.60) matched three Norfolk pitchers zero-for-zero until the sixth inning. Wilson Betemit hit a leadoff double in that frame, advanced to third on a groundout, and then scored on a Zelous Wheeler blooper that shortstop Tim Beckham and center fielder Kevin Kiermaier couldn't reach. Montgomery allowed just four hits and struck out six in six innings of work.
Offensively, the Bulls' only real threats came in the fifth and eighth.
Mike Fontenot singled to lead off the fifth. Walks to Shelley Duncan and Chris Gimenez loaded the bases with one out. Catcher Jesus Flores hit a towering fly ball that looked like it had a chance to hit the Snorting Bull for a grand slam, but it veered left and hit high on the Blue Monster, foul by inches. Two pitches later, he grounded into an inning-ending double play.
In the eighth, the Bulls loaded the bases with no outs, but Cole Figueroa grounded into a 3-2-3 double play and Brandon Guyer fouled out.
Two innings later, Xavier Avery had a leadoff double off reliever Adam Liberatore. He scored on another Wheeler single to center.
Chris Young (W, 4-3, 2.73) picked up the win in relief. Jairo Asencio finished the game for his 24th save. The sellout crowd was the 8th of the season and combined with Saturday night's capacity attendance, it marked the second time this season the Bulls have hosted back-to-back sellouts.
The Bulls now play Charlotte in their final two 2013 regular season games at the DBAP. RHP Merrill Kelly (8-3, 3.07) starts for the Bulls Monday against Knights lefty Charlie Leesman at 7:05pm.
Bulls game story brought to you by Strayer University, Bringing Home the Bulls in September.