INDIANAPOLIS -- The Durham Bulls (39-22) stole a Victory Field opponent record eight bases, including an opponent individual record-tying four from former Tribe outfielder Rich Thompson, while outfielders Wil Myers and Brandon Guyer each drove in two runs in a 6-2 defeat of the Indianapolis Indians (41-21) on Thursday night.
Durham was off to races right off the bat on Thursday night as Thompson, who played for the Tribe from 2005-2006, led off the game with a base hit before quickly swiping second. Then, after a walk by Guyer, the Bulls pulled off a double steal as Thompson nabbed third and Guyer took second.
Tampa Bay Rays top prospect, Wil Myers, then took advantage of the runners in scoring position by lifting a sacrifice fly to right field, plating Thompson to give the Bulls a 1-0 advantage. Following the sac fly, Guyer took third with Durham's fourth steal of the first frame, however, rehabbing starter James McDonald would escape any further damage by inducing an inning-ending groundout from 2B Mike Fontenot.
Indianapolis took to the basepaths themselves in the bottom half of the first as CF Alex Presley led off with a base hit and stole second, before SS Chase d'Arnaud followed with a base-on-balls. Then, after a fly out allowed Presley to move up to third, d'Arnaud swiped second and 1B Matt Hague drew a walk to load the bases.
3B Jared Goedert then stepped to the plate with two outs and came through with a clutch two-run double that plated Presley and d'Arnaud to give the Tribe a 2-1 advantage. The lead was short-lived, however, as the Bulls battled back to take a lead they would not relinquish with two runs in the third, sparked once again by Thompson.
The Bulls speedy center fielder led off the third with another base hit, before swiping second and third to tie the Victory Field opponent record with four steals in one game. The stolen base by Thompson also put him in perfect position to come plateward when Myers followed later in the frame with a base hit to center.
After his RBI base knock, Myers got in on the speed show by swiping second, where DH Shelley Duncan brought him plateward with a double to center to give the Bulls a 3-2 edge. After running their way to the lead over the first three frames, Durham tacked on an insurance tally in the fourth and two more in the sixth to put the contest out of reach.
The Bulls took a patient approach to add to their lead in the fourth as C Jesus Flores and Thompson drew back-to-back two-out walks, before Guyer singled home Flores to extend their advantage to 4-2. Guyer also drove home the Bulls second insurance score with a two-out base hit in the sixth that scored 3B Cole Figueroa, before coming home to score himself when 1B Vince Belnome followed with an RBI base knock of his own.
The Indians were unable to mount a comeback as Bulls starter Jake Odorizzi (6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO) settled in to earn the victory, before relievers Josh Lueke (2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 SO) and Kirby Yates (1.0 IP, 2 BB, 1 SO) finished out the win with three scoreless innings. Odorizzi used his eight strikeouts over 6.0 innings to improve to 5-1, while Lueke lowered his ERA to 0.78 and Yates dropped his to 1.65.
Rehabbing starter James McDonald (3.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO) allowed three runs on four hits over just 3.2 innings to suffer the loss. LHP Atahualpa Severino (2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 SO) was a bright spot out of the Indianapolis bullpen as the southpaw struck out two over two scoreless innings of work.
The Indians will now look to gain the split in the series finale against the Bulls on Friday night at 7:15 p.m. LHP Mike Montgomery (2-0, 5.03) is expected to make the start for Durham, while Indianapolis has yet to name a starter.
The contest will be televised on HTSN, Hometown Sports and News, available via cable or over-the-air on digital channel 6.2. The game will also be carried on WNDE 1260 AM, WNDE.com and via iheartradio, a mobile application for iPhone, Blackberry and Android phones with Howard Kellman and Will Flemming on the call. The pre-game show begins at 6:55 p.m.
Post-game quotes -- 2B Josh Harrison
(on his 7-game hitting streak, leading the league in hits over that span)
"I'm just being aggressive. You know, when you get a pitch, you don't want to miss it. I've been seeing the ball pretty well and just trying to focus on putting a good swing on it and not worry about where it's going and it's worked out."
(on the double-play he turned on a smash hit to him late in the game)
"When he hit it, it was hit hard and I knew there was a little top-spin, and when I tried to glove it I felt it kick off the heel of my glove, and I knew it popped up. When I looked up, Johnny-Mac (John McDonald) was at short and he said 'right up above you,' and I looked up and it kind of carried me toward second and I knew I could bare-hand it and step on second. As I stepped on second I realized that [Durham's Tim] Beckham was still a ways away and I knew I had a shot."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.