The Durham Bulls put the Indianapolis Indians on the brink of elimination with a 6-5 win Thursday night at the DBAP. J.D. Martin cruised early before the South Champs had to survive a late scare in the ninth to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
After waiting until the eighth inning to score in the opening game, the Bulls wasted no time in Game Two. Tim Beckham led off the game with a double for the second straight night and was promptly doubled in by Cole Figueroa. Jason Bourgeois followed with a single, and Vince Belnome doubled off the wall to score Figueroa and Bourgeois.
Ten pitches into the game, Indianapolis manager Dean Treanor had seen enough. He took out starter Graham Godfrey without recording an out, giving him an ERA of infinity for the postseason.
Leslie Anderson greeted reliever Brooks Brown with a home run to right, the Bulls first postseason blast since Justin Ruggiano on September 14, 2010. It also snapped a six-game homerless drought for the Bulls, since Beckham went yard on August 28.
The Bulls appeared to be cruising to victory for the next seven innings. Martin (W, 1-0), the IL's Most Valuable Pitcher, went 8 innings, allowing just two runs on a Jerry Sands home run in the seventh. Martin scattered 8 hits and walked none.
The Indians jumped on reliever Steve Geltz in the ninth, however, as Sands hit a three-run homer, his second blast of the game, to cut the lead to one run. Charlie Montoyo again called on Kirby Yates to nail things down, and the Hawaiian struck out three straight Indian batters to record his second save of the series.
The series now moves to Indianapolis, where the Bulls need only a single win to advance to the Governors' Cup Championship Round. Game Three will be Friday at 7:05pm. RHP Merrill Kelly starts for the Bulls against rehabbing Major Leaguer Wandy Rodriguez.
Bulls game story brought to you by Strayer University, Bringing Home the Bulls in September.