Albuquerque’s Tim Corcoran gave Sky Sox pitcher Brandon Durden a lesson in experience in Durden’s Triple-A debut Thursday.
Corcoran, who spent parts of three seasons in the majors with the Tampa Bay Rays, overcame a two-run, first-inning deficit, lasted 7ï¿½” innings and carried the Isotopes to a 7-2 victory at Security Service Field.
“A lot of guys give up a few runs and they kind of start picking at it,” said Brad Eldred, the Sky Sox first baseman, who went down on a fly out, groundout and strikeout after a first-inning single against Corcoran. “He kept throwing strikes and tried to make us hit the ball. He did a real good job getting right back in there and coming right at us.”
In contrast, Durden, a lefty who went 1-3 with a 4.93 ERA for Double-A Tulsa this season, couldn’t keep his cool even after getting some quick outs. He entered the third, holding that two-run lead and coming off a 1-2-3 second inning in which he used nine pitches to retire the side.
After allowing Corcoran to double to the gap in left center, Durden forced Albuquerque center fielder Xavier Paul to line out to right field and struck out shortstop Ivan DeJesus Jr. But, Jamie Hoffman and Jay Gibbons followed with a pair of doubles to tie the score 2-2.
“He got hurt when he left the ball up in the zone,” Sky Sox pitching coach Doug Linton said, noting that Durden is a pitcher who throws in the mid-80s and can’t afford those mistakes. “He just couldn’t get that third out in his innings of work. He definitely has to stay down in the zone and he’s got to work the edges.”
The two-run bug bit Durden again in the fifth. DeJesus scored on another Gibbons double and Gibbons, who has played winter ball in Venezuela against Durden, came home safely on a double by third baseman Russell Mitchell with two outs. The Sky Sox starter finished the inning, but didn’t return as Taylor Buchholz came out of the bullpen to begin the sixth. Durden finished the game, giving up four runs on seven hits. He struck out three and walked four. It marked his first four-walk game since May 6, 2008, when he played for Class A Modesto.
Meanwhile, Corcoran coasted. After, allowing four hits in the first frame, he gave up just three more the rest of way. In each of the third, fifth and seventh innings, Corcoran put down the Sky Sox in order.
He left the game in the eighth after striking out Eldred, earning the win and finishing with seven strikeouts against just one walk and one hit-batsman.
Matt Miller, who had the Sky Sox first RBI in the first inning, pushed his hitting streak to 21 games with the single to right field. The streak is the longest in the Pacific Coast League this season.
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