[Via email from the Durham Bulls Director of Media Relations Matt DeMargel.]
The Bulls pitching staff gave up a season-high 18 hits on their way to an 8-6 loss to the Gwinnett Braves Monday night at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
It was a starter by committee night for Durham as they used four arms, with Jeff Bennett on the mound to start off the night. He allowed two runs, both coming in the top of the first and finished the night with two innings of work, allowing five hits and no walks.
Durham came back in their half of the first with four runs to take a 4-2 lead. Reid Brignac knocked a double to right center scoring Fernando Perez from third. Brignac was later driven home on a sacrifice fly from Justin Ruggiano. The next batter, Matt Joyce, hit a bullet over the wall in right for a two-run homer.
Rayner Oliveros, who was called up from Double-A Montgomery on Sunday, came in to replace Bennett to begin the third. He allowed runs in the third and fourth innings as Gwinnett tied the game at 4-4.
The Bulls regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth with an Elliot Johnson double to right scoring Ruggiano from second put Durham up 5-4.
Gwinnett answered back in the fifth with two runs off Oliveros to take a 6-5 lead. He finished with four and two-thirds innings of work, allowing four earned runs on eight hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
Durham was able to tie the game once again in the sixth on a fielding error from Gwinnett shortstop Diory Hernandez off a hit from Ray Olmedo, which scored Elliot Johnson from second.
The Braves pulled away in the eighth with an RBI-single from Brooks Conrad off Jason Childers to take the lead for good. Gwinnett added one more run in the ninth and held as they held on for the win.
Vladimir Nunez (3-2) picked up the win after just two innings of work in which he gave up one unearned run on four hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Childers (9-6) was handed the loss after one and one-thirds innngs with one earned run on four hits and two strikeouts.
Gwinnett’s win puts them just one game back from Durham for first place in the International League South standings. The two teams will face off again Tuesday night in their series finale with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.