[Game recap provided by the Bull's Assistant Director of Media Relations Andrew Zelinsky]
A resilient Bulls offense pounded out 15 hits and put 13 runs on the board as they kicked off an eight-game homestand with a 13-8 victory over Scranton on Thursday afternoon. Mike Ekstrom picked up his first win as a Bull, while Hank Blalock, Jose Lobaton and Alvin Colina paced the offense with home runs.
After Aneury Rodriguez allowed two in the first to give Scranton an early 2-0 lead, the Durham offense responded right back with a five spot in the bottom half of the inning. Yankees starter Dustin Moseley allowed the first run to score on a bases loaded balk call, before Chris Richard brought home a run with an infield single two batters later to tie the game. Colina followed with a ground-rule double down the right field line and Lobaton made it three straight hits with an opposite field double to left bringing home two more and making it 5-2.
Rodriguez continued to struggle with his control and failed to keep the Scranton offense in check, allowing another run in the second and was unable to make it out of the third. The former IL Pitcher of the Week lasted just 2.1 innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits, walking four while striking out one. Brian Baker came on after three straight walks by Rodriguez loaded the bases in the third inning, but managed to get out of the jam and keep the Yankees off the board.
Baker stayed on in relief for 2.2 innings, but ran into trouble in the 5th when Scranton evened out a 6-3 Bulls lead. Baker walked two with one out in the inning, and Reegie Corona brought home a run with an RBI-single. Eduardo Nunez followed with a two-run double, tying the game at six apiece before Baker could get out of the inning.
Heath Rollins came on in the sixth and allowed a two-run single to Kevin Russo, allowing Scranton to take a 8-6 lead. Down two runs, the Bulls quickly responded in the bottom of the inning to tie the game once again, as Colina led off the inning with a solo blast to left for his third home run of the season. An RBI-single by Joe Dillon tied the game later in the inning, and the two teams remained scoreless until the eighth.
Another five spot by the Bulls sealed a victory, as Lobaton started things off with a blast into the right field seats for his first home run of the season. After putting runners at first and second with one out, Joe Dillon crushed a double just off the glove of Russo as he went crashing into the center field wall, scoring Rashad Eldridge. Hank Blalock put the capper on another big game with a towering blast well over the wall in right for a three-run homer to finish the scoring off for the Bulls.
Ekstrom was impressive again in his third relief appearance since joining the Bulls, allowing one hit while striking out one over 2.0 scoreless innings to earn the win. Winston Abreu struck out two in a perfect ninth inning, opening the homestand with a win and improving the Bulls to 18-10 on the season.
The two teams continue the series tomorrow as Richard De Los Santos (0-1, 4.76) makes his second start of the season against Romulo Sanchez (0-2 6.48) for the Yankees. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m.