Durham, NC - The Bulls took the field at the Durham Athletic Park for the first time in more than 15 years, but the results did not go as planned as they were defeated, 6-2 by Toledo. Dan Johnson hit his league leading 10th home run of the season, but it was not enough as Phil Dumatrait held the Bulls to two runs through 5.2 innings to earn his third win of the season.
Bulls starter Heath Phillips got off to a shaky start, allowing a pair of singles to start the game before an error by Joe Dillon brought across the game’s first run. Brent Dlugach added a three-run homer one batter later, and Clete Thomas added a solo shot of his own to put the MudHens up 5-0 after the top of the first.
The Durham offense struggled to get things going against Dumatrait, until Johnson led off the fifth with a towering blast well over the right field wall for a solo homer. It was the Bulls first hit, and they would add three more in the sixth inning as they scored another run courtesy of an RBI-single by Hank Blalock. After plunking Dan Johnson, Dumatrait was replaced by Robby Weinhardt who came on to try and get out of a bases loaded jam with two outs. The Toledo right-hander did his job, getting Ryan Shealy to ground out to short to end the inning, keeping the score at 6-2.
Left-hander R.J. Swindle made his Bulls debut after being activated from the disabled list, tossing 2.0 scoreless innings allowing one hit while striking out two. Joe Bateman also worked 1.1 scoreless innings for Durham on the night.
Toledo relievers Daniel Schlereth and Jay Sborz each tossed an inning of scoreless relief to close out the win for the Mud Hens, who improve to 17-15 on the season. The loss drops the Bulls to 19-13 on the year, but they still remain 3.0 games ahead of Gwinnett for the Southern Division lead.
The two teams return to Durham Bulls Athletic Park tomorrow to continue with the second of their four-game set. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m.