[Via email from the Durham Bulls' broadcaster Neil Solondz.]
Durham lefty Jason Cromer held his own against Hall of Famer to be John Smoltz, but the Bulls lost a 2-1 decision on Saturday as Smoltz allowed only a John Jaso single in six innings.
Cromer gave up solo homers in the first to Jeff Bailey (his 5th) and in the second to Chip Ambres (his 3rd), but those were the only hits the lefty allowed in 5.2 innings. He walked four, and fanned four, working out of a first-and-second none-out jam in the fifth after two walks to start the frame.
Meanwhile, the Bulls had just one hit off the 42-year-old Smoltz, who was making his fourth start on a major league rehab coming back from shoulder surgery. The first three starts were below the Triple-A level.
Durham (35-21) got its only run in the second to tie the game at one. Chris Richard walked to start the inning, and moved to third on Jaso's one-out single. Ray Olmedo followed with a sac fly to center to tie the game.
Ambres followed with a homer the next half inning, giving Pawtucket (29-25) the lead for good. Smoltz, who threw just 74 pitches, retired his final 10 batters. He walked two and fanned three.
Durham did have chances in the final three innings against the Pawtucket bullpen. The Bulls left runners in scoring position in the seventh, eighth and ninth, and had the tying run at third in the seventh and ninth with one out, but couldn’t get the tying run across.
The Bulls, who dropped the opener of an eight-game road trip, will look to bounce back Sunday at 1:05 in battle of righties. Matt DeSalvo squares off against Michael Bowden. Coverage on 99.9 the Fan ESPN Radio begins at 1:05.