Saturday, July 3, 2010

Johnson's Two Homers Not Enough as Bulls Fall

Dan Johnson went deep twice in Friday's loss.  Photo by Jim Donten.[Game recap provided by Matt DeMargel of the Durham Bulls.]

Durham, NC - The Bulls four-game winning streak came to a close Friday night as they were downed at the hands of Louisville by the score of 10-5. Dan Johnson blasted a pair of two-run homers for the Bulls, but Yonder Alonso’s eighth inning grand slam put the game out of reach for the Bats who avoid the sweep but lost three of four to the Bulls in the series.

Johnson put the Bulls on the board in the first inning, working the count full on Bats starter Matt Klinker before taking the payoff pitch over the wall in right for his 19th home run of the season.

Heath Phillips got the start for Durham, but ran into trouble in the top of the second as the Bats plated three to take the lead. Chris Valaika was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded for the first run and Danny Dorn followed with an RBI single. Drew Sutton brought home the third run with a sacrifice fly as the Bats took a 3-2 lead.

They would add another in the fifth inning, as Alonso brought home Zack Cozart with an RBI single to make it a 4-2 Bats lead. Phillips got out of the inning without any further damage, but his night would end after 5.0 innings of work allowing four earned runs on six this while walking one and striking out four.

Johnson took Phillips off the hook in the bottom of the fifth, taking a Klinker fastball deep into the seats in right-center field for his second homer of the night to tie the game at four. It was the second multi-homer game of the season for Johnson, who leads the International league with 20 homers and 69 RBI, also ranks fourth in homers and second in runs batted in among all minor leaguers this season.

Louisville answered right back with the go-ahead run in the top of the sixth inning against Bulls lefty Darin Downs. A broken bat single by Gary Matthews Jr. brought home Chris Valaika, as the Bats went back on top 5-4.

The score would remain that way until the eighth, as the Bats loaded the bases with one out against Bulls right-hander Joe Bateman. Alonso stepped to the plate and took the first pitch he saw from Bateman the opposite way for a grand slam over the wall in left. It was the second home run allowed this season by Bateman, and his four runs allowed was the most given up by the right-hander since June 19, 2009 against Pawtucket.

Each team would tack on another run, but the Bulls could not overcome the deficit as they fall at home for just the 13th time in 40 home games this season. The loss puts Durham’s record at 49-32 for the season, but they still hold an 8.0 game lead over Charlotte atop the Southern Division standings. Downs was tagged with the loss, his first of the year, while Klinker earned his second win in three starts for Louisville.

The Bulls wrap up their homestand this weekend as the Gwinnett Braves come to town for a three-game set. The two teams kick off action tomorrow as RHP Richard De Los Santos (6-6 4.35) takes the mound against RHP Todd Redmond (7-7 4.22). Game time is set for 7:05 p.m. and there will be fireworks after the game.

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