By Josh Cook
For the third straight game the Louisville Bats outhit the Durham Bulls. But for the third straight game the Bulls beat the Bats.
Durham, the team with the best record in the International League, beat visiting Louisville 6-0 Thursday night despite being outhit 10-9.
It was the fifth loss in six games for the Bats (36-45), who are now 12 1/2 games behind Columbus in the IL West.
It didn't start out bad for the Bats, though. Louisville starter Matt Maloney cruised through the first four innings, allowing only two hits.
But then in the fifth Dioner Navarro reached on an error by Maloney to lead off the inning. Omar Luna moved Navarro to second with a two-out single, then Fernando Perez scored him with double to make it 1-0.
It stayed that way until the eighth inning when the Bulls (49-31) broke the game open. Durham scored five run in the inning thanks in large part to the long ball. The Bulls, who are second in the IL in home runs, hit three in the eighth.
Luna led off the inning with a single off Maloney before Angel Chavez's one-out, two-run homer chased the Louisville left-hander. Maloney (6-5) allowed only three runs (two earned) on six hits while walking one and striking out four over 7 1/3 innings.
Justin Ruggiano hit his seventh home run of the season to greet reliever Daniel Ray Herrera, who was sent down from the parent Cincinnati Reds when Bat Travis Wood was called up. Dan Johnson singled before Joe Dillon struck out. But Navarro followed with his first home run of the season to make it 6-0.
Durham reliever Brian Baker gave up four hits while striking out three over 3 1/3 innings to improve to 7-0 on the season.
Yonder Alonso went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles to lead Louisville's 10-hit attack. Michael Griffin and Juan Francisco added two hits apiece for the Bats, who went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12 baserunners.
The Bats will try to salvage their series against the Bulls in the four-game finale at 7:05 p.m. Friday night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.