[Via email from Andrew Zelinsky, Durham Bulls.]
Durham, NC - The Bulls snapped a four-game losing skid by powering their way past Toledo 5-2 Wednesday night. Ryan Shealy and Angel Chavez had homers to pace the offense, while Richard De Los Santos earned his second win in as many starts as the Bulls become the second team in the International League to win 20 games this season.
The Bulls jumped ahead in the first as Hank Blalock continued his terror on IL pitching this season. Singles by Elliot Johnson and Joe Dillon with one out set the table for the Bulls third baseman, and he delivered with an RBI-single as Johnson slid into home safely. Blalock, the league leader in batting average coming into the night, has now hit safely in eight of nine games and brought home at least one RBI in six of his last eight games.
The Mud Hens got on the board with three straight hits off De Los Santos in the fourth inning, the last of which was an RBI-single by Jeff Larish to tie the score at one. The Bulls responded with three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, as Dan Johnson led off with a double before Shealy blasted a home run to dead center field to take the lead. They added another run on back-to-back doubles by Chris Richard and Angel Chavez, making it a 4-1 advantage.
Richard’s double was his 28th hit of the season, passing B.J. Upton for second on the Bulls All-Time list for career hits with 358. He now trails teammate Justin Ruggiano, who passed Upton earlier in the season and sits atop the list with 379 career hits.
The 4-1 lead would prove to be enough for De Los Santos, who continues to impress in his transition from the bullpen to the starting rotation. The right-hander allowed a home run to Jeff Frazier in the sixth inning, but finished his night after 5.1 innings of work allowing two earned on five hits while walking two and striking out five.
Mike Ekstrom finished out the sixth inning and worked a scoreless seventh for his second hold of the season, and Joe Bateman worked a scoreless eighth inning striking out two to earn his third hold.
Winston Abreu slammed the door in the ninth, striking out one in a hitless inning of work for his second save in as many chances. The right-hander has been exceptional in the back innings for the Bulls this season, not allowing a hit in seven of his 11 appearances on the season.
The Bulls close out their homestand tomorrow as LHP Carlos Hernandez (2-1 2.73) takes the hill looking for his third win of the season and a series split with the MudHens. Game time starts at 7:05 p.m.