[Via email from the Durham Bulls' broadcaster Neil Solondz.]
Matt Joyce hit a two-run homer and a two-run single, and the Bulls held on after two rain delays to beat Charlotte 8-7 on Wednesday afternoon to start a six-game road trip.
After Brian Myrow’s three-run homer got Charlotte within a run in the eighth after the first rain delay at 8-7, the Knights rallied in the ninth before the rains came a second time.
With a runner at first and one out, Dale Thayer came on and allowed an Andy Phillips single, but then got major league veterans Daryle Ward and Michael Restovich to ground out to end the game. For Thayer it was his fourth save, and prevented Charlotte from coming up with its first lead and the win.
The Bulls had a 4-0 lead against righty John Van Benchoten (2-3) four batters into the game. A two-run homer from Joyce, his third, followed a Jon Weber single, Reid Brignac double, and two-run single to left from Ray Sadler.
Charlotte bounced back in the bottom of the first, taking advantage of a strikeout/wild pitch that allowed Eider Torres to reach against Mitch Talbot (3-2) with one out. That sequence started a three-run rally before Talbot got Cole Armstrong to fly to left to end the frame.
The Bulls then tacked on another run on a Craig Albernaz RBI single in the fourth, and Talbot settled down, retiring 10 of 11. In the fifth, Talbot ran into trouble, allowing a run on a single that deflected off of him into right center. With a 5-4 lead and runners at the corners, Talbot came up with his biggest pitch, inducing Ward to bounce into an inning-ending 3-6-3 double play.
Durham then rallied for three runs with two out in the sixth, one on a Brignac single, and two on a base hit by Joyce to shallow center. The Bulls collected 10 hits, three by Brignac, and took advantage of six Charlotte walks.
Durham, now 16-10, is 1-0 on a six-game road trip. The Bulls wrap up a home-and-home series with Charlotte (10-16) on Thursday as David Price battles against Wes Whisler in a battle of lefties. Coverage on 99.9 the Fan ESPN Radio begins at 6:55 with first pitch at 7:15.