Omaha Royals starter Bryan Bullington entered the top of the ninth inning Sunday against the Pacific Coast League’s top hitting team, Albuquerque, working on a four-hit shutout, although the term “working” is a bit of a stretch since he needed only 68 pitches to breeze through the first eight innings. However, in the ninth, the Isotopes chased Bullington, scoring three runs and having the tying run at second base when Victor Marte recorded the final out in Omaha’s 4-3 victory, witnessed by 2,663 fans on a blustery day at Rosenblatt Stadium.
Bullington (1-0), who had fired three scoreless innings of relief as part of a combined six-hitter April 17 in the Royals’ 2-0 win at Isotopes Park, moved back into Omaha’s starting rotation Sunday. The 29-year old right-hander took over the rotation spot of Bruce Chen, recently called up by Kansas City.
Through eight innings Sunday, Bullington had allowed just four singles and no walks, striking out four. By that point in his fourth appearance of the year, the former first overall pick in the 2002 draft had given up just two earned runs in 21.0 innings for a 0.86 ERA.
Timo Perez ended Bullington’s bid for Omaha’s third shutout of the season – and second against Albuquerque – with his first home run of the year leading off the ninth to make it 4-1. Bullington rebounded to retire the next two batters, but then hit John Lindsey with a first-pitch curve ball. Russ Mitchell followed with a fly ball to deep right-center that the 20-plus mile-an-hour winds carried off the top of the wall for a double to put runners at second and third.
Marte came on in relief and got ahead of Jamie Hoffman 0-and-2, but then surrendered a two-run double down the right field line to make it 4-3. With two outs and the tying run on second, Michael Restovich hit a grounder to short. Irving Falu’s throw to first was in the dirt, but Scott Thorman came up with the one-hop dig to end the game, keeping the potential tying run from scoring. Marte got credit for his first save of the campaign.
Dodgers pitching prospect Josh Lindblom (1-1) was the starter and loser for Albuquerque, allowing four runs on eight hits over seven innings. He yielded Kila Ka’aihue’s two-run homer in the fourth, his team-leading fifth of the year, snapping a scoreless tie. Marc Maddox delivered a hit-and-run, RBI double in the fifth to make it 3-0. And Jose Duarte’s run-scoring single off the glove of Isotopes shortstop Nick Green in the sixth capped Omaha’s damage.
Omaha (8-10) hosts Albuquerque (9-8) in game three of the four-game series Monday at 6:35 p.m. Isotopes right-hander John Ely (2-1) faces Royals righty Federico Castaneda (NR) in his Triple-A debut.
Story courtesy of O-Royals.com