The Indianapolis Indians rode an outstanding outing from LHP Rudy Owens to beat the Durham Bulls on Saturday evening at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in a low-scoring affair that was highlighted by Tribe RF Brandon Boggs’ triple that provided all of the offense Owens and company would need.
Owens (7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K) effectively shut down the Durham offense for seven innings, scattering six hits while recording six strikeouts. A leadoff double by Bulls 2B Will Rhymes in the bottom of the first provided an inauspicious start to the contest, but Owens promptly retired the next three batters to end the inning, sandwiching a flyout to right between two strikeouts.
Owens didn’t face more than four Durham batters in any inning and faced only three in the second, fourth and sixth. The only Bulls runner to reach third base came in the third inning, when CF Jesus Feliciano singled to lead off the frame and advanced all the way to third on a single by C Craig Albernaz, who was thrown out at second base by LF Gorkys Hernandez while trying to stretch the base hit into a double. Owens then induced a popout to second and recorded a strikeout to shut down the Durham rally.
A 14-pitch seventh inning capped the night for Owens before he turned the reins over to RHP Jared Hughes. Hughes (1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K) allowed a lone baserunner in the eighth inning in his first outing since returning to the Indianapolis roster after a one-day stint with Pittsburgh. Hughes made baseball history in the brief stay with the Pirates, becoming the first 26th man on a major league roster, a luxury provided for doubleheaders by Major League Baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement.
LHP Doug Slaten (1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K) took over for the Indians in the ninth inning and sat down the Bulls in order to record his first save of the season. The perfect inning ran Slaten’s scoreless streak to 12.2 innings and gives the veteran southpaw a miniscule 0.75 ERA on the season.
Indianapolis scored both of its runs in the top of the second inning. After a strikeout, Mercer singled to right field before Boggs sent a rising liner over the head of Feliciano, scoring Mercer as Boggs cruised into third with his second triple of the season.
C Jose Morales followed Boggs’ three-bagger with a walk to put runners on the corners for Hernandez, who delivered a sac fly to left, plating Boggs and providing an early insurance run for the Tribe. Morales moved to second on a wild pitch but a strikeout ended the inning and the night for both teams offensively.
Durham starting RHP Chris Archer (6.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 5 K) took another tough-luck loss, his second in a row, despite allowing only two hits while recording five strikeouts. The Bulls actually out-hit the Indians, six to two, but couldn’t provide Archer with any run support.
Indianapolis and Durham face off in game three of their current four-game series on Sunday evening, with the first pitch slated for 5:05 p.m. The Indians are expected to send LHP Jeff Locke (2-1, 3.86) to the bump, while the Bulls are likely to counter with RHP Matt Torra (1-2, 6.85).