Raleigh area native Christopher Archer was tremendous in his 2012 debut, an Easter Sunday 7-4 victory over the Gwinnett Braves. He struck 8 hitters in six innings while allowing only a home run to Ernesto Mejia and was backed by a Bulls offense that scored 6 runs in the first two innings.
Making his first start for Durham since a September post-season appearance last year, Archer was also very efficient in his victory throwing only 89 pitches. After allowing the home run to Mejia in the second inning, he settled down and retired 11 of the next 13 hitters he faced.
After struggling to score runs consistently in the first three games of the series, the Bulls lineup tagged Braves starter Eric Junge for five runs in the second inning. Leslie Anderson, who delivered the winning hit in Saturday's walk-off victory, continued his hot hitting by starting off the inning with a single. RBI doubles by Will Rhymes and Brandon Guyer were the other key hits in the inning. Shortstop Shawn O'Malley added some insurance in the sixth with a solo home run which barely missed the Snorting Bull sign in left field.
Things got interesting in the ninth when the Braves hit three consecutive doubles off of Jhonny Nunez. With the tying run at the plate, Dane de La Rosa came in and got a strike out and ground ball to end the game.
Notes: The home run by O'Malley was just the fourth of his career in 1511 minor league at bats. --- 2B Will Rhymes had his third two-hit game of the season and is hitting .353 on the year. --- Matt Mangini struck out twice on Sunday and has at least one punch out in all four games this season --- OF Kyle Hudson, who did not play on Sunday, currently leads the International League in hitting with a .545 average in 11 at bats. --- C Chris Gimenez was placed on the 7-Day disabled list before the game with a pulled muscle. C Craig Albernaz was promoted from Double-A Montgomery to replace him on the roster and will share time with Nevin Ashley.Monday: Home against the Charlotte Knights at 7:05 PM ET (Matt Torra 0-0)
Montgomery had the tying run on base in the ninth, but eventually lost to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos after fighting back from a 7-1 deficit.
A home run by former Rays farmhand Joel Guzman started the scoring for Pensacola in the second inning, but the seventh inning proved to be the tipping point in the game when reliever Scott Shuman was tagged for four runs.
Omar Luna hit a two-run single in the bottom in the eighth to cut the lead to three, but with the bases loaded, Isias Velazquez struck out looking. Tyler Bortnick added an RBI double in the ninth, but Donnie Joseph closed out the game for the Blue Wahoos by striking out Brad Coon and getting Henry Wrigley to ground out.
Biscuits starter Joe Cruz, who is trying to come back from an injury-plagued 2011 was charged with the loss after lasting only three innings. He allowed two hits, four walks and two runs, while striking out four.
Notes: RHP Scott Shuman in his first appearance of the year pitched two innings, but gave up four earned runs on three hits and three walks. --- SS Omar Luna getting a rare start at short in place of Hak-Ju Lee (who was the DH) had three hits and two stolen bases. --- 2B Tyler Bortnick has three extra-base hits in his last two games. --- OF Brad Coon went 0 for 3 with a walk and is 2 for 15 (.133) to start the season. --- C Dave Wendt was activated before the game to replace Craig Albernaz on the roster and went 1 for 3 with a run, but also made a throwing error.Monday: Away against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos at 7:05 ET (Jacob Thompson 0-0)
Both the High-A Charlotte Stone Crabs and Low-A Bowling Green Hot Rods were off on Sunday. Both teams return to action on Monday with the Stone Crabs (W. Rodriguez 0-0) at the St. Lucie Mets and the Hot Rods (TBD) traveling to face the West Michigan Whitecaps.
John Gregg is Publisher and Senior Editor of Rays Digest. You can follow him on Twitter at @RaysDigest. He can also be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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