[Via email from the Durham Bulls Director of Media Relations Matt DeMargel.]
After taking a 2-1 lead through three innings, the Bulls gave up consecutive two-run innings in the fourth and fifth eventually losing 5-3 to Pawtucket Sunday at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Pawtucket jumped on board in the top of the first with a sacrifice fly from Bubba Bell, scoring Jeff Bailey from third to take the early 1-0 lead.
Durham responded with two runs of its own in the bottom of second. With runners on second and third, Chris Nowak laced a single to left driving in Rashad Eldridge to tie the game at one. The next batter, Ray Olmedo, followed up with an RBI single of his own platting Rhyne Hughes to take the 2-1 lead.
The lead would be short lived as the Paw Sox jumped ahead for good in the top of the fourth. With the bases loaded, Bulls pitcher James Houser walked in the tying run giving up the lead. The next batter, Chris Carter, hit a sacrifice fly to right to give Pawtucket the 3-2 lead.
After drawing a walk to chase off Houser in the beginning of the fifth, the Sox cushioned their lead, this time abusing Bulls reliever Calvin Medlock. After beaning the first batter, putting runners on second and third, Medlock gave up an RBI-single to Angel Chavez making the score 4-2. Two batters later, Bailey drove in one more insurance run on a single to left, putting Pawtucket up 5-2.
Durham made it interesting in the sixth with an RBI-double from Craig Albernaz, cutting the Paw Sox lead to 5-3. The Bulls still had a chance to get back in the game with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth. Henry Mateo hit a hard line drive up the middle that was caught by Pawtucket shortstop Gil Velazquez who then flipped the ball to second for the inning-ending double play.
Houser (3-4) picked up the loss after tossing four innings, allowing four earned runs on four hits with six walks and one strikeout. The Bulls pitching staff gave up a season-high nine base-on-balls and two hit batters for a total of 11 free passes.
His starting counterpart for Pawtucket, Kris Johnson (3-6), earned the win with five and on third innings, giving up three runs on seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Pawtucket’s Fernando Cabrera picked up his International League leading 14th save after closing out the Bulls in the ninth.
With the loss the Bulls have now lost eight straight and 11 of their last 12. The loss also gives Pawtucket the series victory meaning Durham has now lost it’s last three series.
The Bulls will look to avoid the sweep on Monday as Scott Kazmir takes the mound for Durham, as he continues his Major League rehab assignment. He will be matched up against Pawtucket’s Clay Buchholz with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.