[Via email from the Durham Bulls Director of Media Relations Matt DeMargel.]
An impressive start from Jeremy Hellickson and a five-run third inning was enough for the Bulls to hold off Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 5-4 Saturday night at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Hellickson (3-1) tossed seven and one-thirds innings of two-hit ball with three walks and seven strikeouts to pick up the win. The two-hits Hellickson did give up were both home runs, the only mistakes the 22-year-old righty made all night.
The first of those homeruns came from Jose Miranda in the top of the second inning. He deposited Hellickson’s 1-2 pitch over the wall in right to give the Yankees an early 1-0 lead.
The Bulls came roaring back in the third with a pair of back-to-back bombs from Desmond Jennings and Matt Joyce to start off their half of the inning. It was the first time since May 12 at Gwinnett, that Durham batters have hit consecutive homers.
The two bombs were followed by an error, a single, and a double, with the two-bagger coming off the bat of Jon Weber which drove in Akinori Iwamura from third to make the score 3-0. Two more runs were scored on a groundout from Chris Richard and an RBI-single from Ray Olmedo to give the Bulls 5-1 lead.
Hellickson kept the Yankees bats at bay until the eighth inning when he gave up a second solo homerun, this time to John Rodriguez, cutting Durham’s lead to 5-2. Hellickson would retire one more batter before being replaced by Jason Childers who retired two of the three batters he faced to end the inning.
The Yankees rallied back in the top of the ninth. With the bases loaded and one out, Rodriguez doubled off Childers driving in two to cut the Bulls lead to just one run. Childers then pulled for closer Dale Thayer who was able to retire the next two batters to earn the save, his 16th of the year.
The Bulls win evens up their series with Scranton at one game apiece and keeps Durham within two games of the Southern Division leading Gwinnett Braves, who won 10-1 over Pawtucket tonight.
The Bulls take on the Yankees and starter Russ Ortiz (2-0) for Game 3 of their series Sunday with the first pitch scheduled for 5:05 p.m.