[Via email from the Durham Bulls' broadcaster Neil Solondz.]
Jon Weber had three hits, including a two-run single in a three-run sixth, but it wasn't enough for Durham in a 5-3 loss at Norfolk.
Weber's third hit off Andy Mitchell (7-2), a base hit to right, followed a Matt Joyce double, a single by Justin Ruggiano and a Chris Richard run-scoring double. Reliever Chris Waters came in and retired the next two hitters on first pitch flyouts before striking out Elliot Johnson to end the threat.
Norfolk then added to its lead on Michael Aubrey's second homer of the night off Wade Davis (8-5).
Durham rallied in the ninth against Alberto Castillo (five saves). Johnson walked with one out and Henry Mateo blasted a ball to center, but former Bull Joey Gathright ran it down for the second out. Reid Brignac singled to right-center to bring the lead run to the plate, but Castillo got Matt Joyce to pop to second to end the game.
Gathright had sparked a three-run first-inning rally off Davis with a leadoff walk. Justin Christian's double and Aubrey's two-run homer brought home the runs. Jolbert Cabrera's RBI double in the third drove home the fourth run of the night. Durham pitchers fanned 11 and allowed only six hits, but all of them were for extra bases (four doubles and two homers).
While Durham rallied at the plate, the Bulls probably lost this game early on. Durham had 15 base runners against Mitchell (out of 24 hitters) but scored only the three runns. Durham hit into four double plays (in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th) and had two runners thrown out on the bases in the fourth.
The Tides (49-37) are now in a virtual tie for first in the South Division with the Bulls (50-38) with two games left before the All-Star Break. After winning 10 of 11, Durham has dropped three straight.
Carlos Hernandez will try and break the string on Saturday at 7:15 p.m. against righty David Pauley. Coverage on 99.9 the Fan ESPN Radio begins at 6:55.