(milb.com) - Josh Johnson had little trouble getting the first two outs of innings Thursday night. Getting the final one is what presented a problem.
In his second MLB rehab start with the Herd, the two-time National League All-Star allowed six two-out RBIs in a 7-2 loss at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, as the Durham Bulls earned a four-game series sweep.
Johnson surrendered those six runs, all earned, on eight hits, three walks and two hit batters over 4 2/3 innings. He didn't have a problem throwing strikes, tossing 52 on 86 pitches, but his ERA rose from 0.00 to 6.23 with the performance. It was a long way from Johnson's first start for Buffalo on Saturday when he threw four shutout innings.
The Herd was able to give Johnson a cushion before even stepping foot on the mound. Moises Sierra lined a one-out single to right-center field for a triple before Luis Jimenez drove him in with a sacrifice fly to right. Mauro Gomez followed with his team-leading 11th home run to make it 2-0 after the top of the first.
Buffalo was shut down by Bulls' starter J.D. Martin, who won his International League leading seventh contest, and reliever Steve Geltz after that. It managed just seven hits after the first frame, with its last coming in the sixth, and only five runners reached scoring position. Geltz tossed a perfect final three innings.
Gomez, Ryan Langerhans and Andy LaRoche all finished with two hits to lead the team.
Up 2-1 in the bottom of the third, Johnson ran into the brunt of the two-out trouble. With runners on first and second and two gone, Tim Beckham hit a double to center to score Vince Belnome and Wil Myers, who both walked.
After Mike Fontenot was hit by a pitch the next at-bat, Cole Figueroa laced one to right for a double. It scored both runners to increase the lead to 5-2 and close out a four-run inning.
The Bisons fall to 28-24, while the Bulls (34-20) took over sole possession of first place in the IL South with the win. The Herd's eight-game road trip will continue Friday against Norfolk, where they take on the Tides in a four-game set.
BISONS NOTES: Sierra had a 13-pitch at-bat in the third inning, though it ended in a strikeout...Sierra also threw out Fontenot at the plate when tried to score from second on a single to center in the fifth...Negrych batted leadoff after missing the last three games with an injury...The bullpen was again strong, as Chad Beck and Dustin McGowan combined to allow two hits, one run and two walks while striking out four over 3 1/3 innings... Jimenez's RBI was his 46th of the year, which leads the IL.