By Josh Cook
June hasn't been too kind to Wladimir Balentien.
The Louisville Bats right fielder entered Saturday night's game against Durham batting only .170. But Balentien came up big against the Bulls without having to get a hit. His sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning scored Chris Burke to cap off Louisville's comeback from a two-run deficit and give the Bats a 5-4 victory in front of 8,513 fans at Louisville Slugger Field.
Durham (40-28) led 2-0 after half an inning and 4-2 after 4 1/2 innings, but the Bats (32-37) rallied for their fourth win in six games.
The Bulls scored two in the top of the first inning against Bats starter Ben Jukich.
Louisville tied the game by scoring once in the first and once in the second.
In the first Chris Burke singled, moved to second on Zack Cozart's single, took third on Balentien's single, then scored on Todd Frazier's single.
In the second Chris Denove led off with a single against Durham starter Aneury Rodriguez, moved to second on Burke's ground out, then scored on Cozart's single.
The Bulls scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings on solo homers by Alvin Colina and Justin Ruggiano respectively.
But the Bats answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth. Yonder Alonso singled with one out, then moved to second when Balentien walked. Juan Francisco then doubled both home to tie the game at 4-all.
In the ninth Burke has hit by a pitch from Durham reliever Mike Ekstrom (3-1) to lead off the inning. He moved to second on Cozart's sacrifice bunt, then reached third when Bulls shortstop Angel Chavez misplayed a ball off Alonso's bat. Baletien followed with the game-winning RBI.
Louisville closer Jon Adkins (1-4) picked up the win with one inning of perfect relief. Carlos Fisher, Bill Bray and Jared Burton also combined for three innings of scoreless relief of Jukich.
Burke, Cozart and Francisco led Louisville's 11-hit attack with two hits apiece. Balentien went 1-for-3 to raise his season average to .223.
The only bad news for the Bats was that Drew Sutton's International League-best streak of reaching base safely in 35 consecutive games came to an end. He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and left five runners on base.
Also Saturday the Bats placed outfielder Luis Terrero on the 7-day disabled list, retroactive to June 16, with a strained left calf. He is hitting .412 with three home runs and six RBIs in June.
The Bats and Bulls finish off their four-game series at 6:05 p.m. Sunday night. There will be a pre-game Kosair Children's Hospital Kids Clinic from 4:45-5:25 p.m. in which children can interact with Bats players and the Louisville coaching staff on Slugger Field. The Inflatable Mortenson Family Dental Kid's Zone will be from 5-8 p.m. at the Overlook Grill. Jake the Diamond Dog will appear during the game and afterwards, as always on Sundays, kids can run the bases.
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