[Via email from the Durham Bulls' broadcaster Neil Solondz.]
Elliot Johnson's RBI double in the seventh got the Durham Bulls within striking distance, but the Norfolk Tides pulled away Friday night for an 8-2 win. The win by the Tides (10-4), their ninth in a row, moved them a half-game ahead of the Bulls (10-5) in the South Division. It's the first time this season Durham has not been in first place, and also the first time the Bulls have lost two in a row.
Durham was trailing 6-0 in the seventh before rallying with two out against reliever Radhames Liz. John Jaso and Ray Olmedo delivered back-to-back singles, scoring Matt Joyce, who had walked. Johnson then doubled down the left field line, making it 6-2. With runners at second and third, Liz settled down to strike out Jon Weber and end the threat. Two batters later, Oscar Salazar put the momentum back in the home dugout with a two-run homer off Dewon Day for the final 8-2 margin.
Norfolk scored four in the first, all with two out off lefty James Houser (0-1), who was making his Triple-A debut. Salazar, who had three hits and four RBI singled in a run and Nolan Reimold and Jolbert Cabrera followed with back-to-back homers.
Chris Tillman (1-0) went six innings to earn the win, and didn't allow a base runner until the fourth inning. Durham was held to six hits, two by catcher John Jaso.
The Bulls will look to bounce back on Saturday night after dropping the first two of this four-game set. Mitch Talbot starts against David Pauley in a matchup of righties. Coverage on 99.9 the Fan ESPN Radio and www.durhambulls.com begins at 6:55 p.m., with first pitch at 7:15 p.m.