[Via email from the Durham Bulls Director of Media Relations Matt DeMargel.]
After a go-ahead grand slam from Justin Ruggiano and a six-run lead, the Bulls still managed to find a way to lose, this time 8-6 against the Pawtucket Red Sox in front of a record crowd of 11,300 Friday night at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Durham put up the early fireworks in the first, with Ruggiano’s grand slam to dead-center which was followed by a Rhyne Hughes RBI single and a John Jaso RBI double to take the 6-0 lead after one.
Starter Wade Davis put up a solid outing, tossing seven innings allowing four hits and three runs, two earned, while striking out nine. He was relived by Joe Bateman to begin the eighth with the Bulls up 6-3.
Bateman started off the inning strong, retiring the first two batters faced. He then proceeded to allow to singles and a walk to load the bases. With the bases juiced, he walked the next batter to put the Sox within two. Then a double from Pawtucket’s Gil Velazquez drove in two more to tie the score at six.
Jorge Julio was brought in to stop the bleeding, but he was knocked around for a two-run single, with both runs charged to Bateman. Julio struck out the next batter to end the inning but the damage was done; Pawtucket had the 8-6 lead.
The Bulls did not go down quietly, loading the bases in the bottom of the ninth. With the winning run on first and two outs, Hughes chopped a ground ball to short to end the game.
With the loss, the Bulls continued their season-high six-game losing streak and have now lost nine of their last ten contests. They will look to end their streak Saturday as they take on Pawtucket again for the second game of their four-game series. Carlos Hernandez (4-2, 3.15 ERA), who missed his last scheduled start, takes the mound for Durham with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.