[Via email from the Durham Bulls' broadcaster Neil Solondz.]
Joe Bateman and the Bulls survived a furious Louisville ninth inning rally, as Durham won its first game after the All-Star break, 4-3 over the Bats.
Bateman, who worked a 1-2-3 8th, was on for the 9th because closer Dale Thayer had pitched 1.2 innings the night before in the Triple-A All-Star game. Bateman allowed four straight hits to start the ninth, cutting a 4-1 lead to 4-3. With first and second and none out, he got Chris Heisey to ground slowly to third, moving both runners up. Kevin Barker was walked intentionally to load the bases, and Bateman made the strategy pay off, striking out Wes Bankston and Chris Valaika to end the game.
The effort gave Bateman his first save of the season, and made a winner out of Jason Cromer (3-2). Cromer, who worked out of several jams in 5.2 innings, got some help when Jason Childers got the final out in the sixth with the bases loaded.
Durham had taken the lead for good in the sixth when Chris Richard, who had homered earlier in the game singled to left. Durham added runs in the seventh on a Craig Albernaz two-out single, and in the ninth on a Ray Olmedo base hit.
The Bulls (52-39) collected 11 hits, including three by Jon Weber, who added two doubles, and now has a league-high 29.
Durham now has won two in a row, and has a one-game lead over Norfolk in the South Division after the Tides lost 7-1 to Charlotte. The Bulls, 2-2 on an 11-game road stretch, visit Louisville on Friday at 7:05, with Wade Davis opposing Ramon Ramirez in a battle of righties. Coverage on 99.9 the Fan ESPN Radio begins at 6:55.