[Via email from the Durham Bulls' broadcaster Neil Solondz.]
Michel Hernandez hit a pair of sac flies, the last giving Durham the lead for good in the eighth on Monday in a 3-2 victory over Syracuse.
Durham set up the eventual winning run in the eighth when Reid Brignac singled to right to start the frame against Josh Wilkie (2-1), and Justin Ruggiano was hit by a pitch. Shawn Riggans then bunted into a 1-5 fielder's choice. With Hernandez at the plate, Ruggiano stole his team-leading 21st base, and Hernandez followed with a sac fly to right on the next pitch.
Syracuse did put the tying run at third in the bottom of the frame against Andy Sonnanstine (5-3). Ian Desmond tripled into the right field corner with one out, ending a string of 13 straight retired by Sonnanstine. Winston Abreu came in and struck out Jhonatan Solano, and got Norris Hopper to fly to right. Abreu now has left 12 of 12 inherited runners on base for Durham. He then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 12th save, striking out the last two batters.
Durham had tied the game with a two-run sixth on a base hit by Riggans (2-for-4) and a sac fly by Hernandez, who also threw out two would-be base stealers.
Riggans and Joe Dillon each had two hits for the Bulls (72-58), who are now 2.5 games ahead of Syracuse (69-60) for the wild card lead, and five games in front of Norfolk and Toledo with 14 games left. Durham is three games behind Gwinnett in the division race, pending the outcome of game two of the Braves' double header with Charlotte.
Durham wraps up a four-game series on Tuesday with RHP Jeremy Hellickson on the mound against lefty Horacio Ramirez. Air time is at 6:55 on 99.9 the Fan ESPN Radio, with first pitch at 7 p.m.
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