[Via email from Matt DeMargel of the Durham Bulls.]
Durham, NC - The Bulls used a six-run fourth inning to take the lead and never looked back, downing Gwinnett 13-6. The 2-5 spots in the order combined to reach base 13 times and drove home 10 of the team’s runs, led by Matt Joyce who finished the night 5-for-5 with three doubles and two runs batted in.
Left-hander Carlos Hernandez struggled in the first inning against the G-Braves offense, allowing four earned runs on five hits in the opening frame. Wes Timmons had a solo shot for his first homer of the year, while Joe Thurston’s two-run triple and an RBI single by Jordan Schafer gave the Braves the lead.
Durham got two runs back in the bottom half of the inning, as Desmond Jennings brought home a run with an RBI triple and came around to score on a double by Joyce. An RBI single by Dan Johnson brought the deficit to one in the bottom of the third, but the Braves added one of their own on a double-play ball in the top half of the fourth. The Bulls almost prevented the run by turning their first triple-play in over four years, but second baseman J.J. Furmaniak’s relay on the 5-4-3 attempt short hopped the glove of Ryan Shealy at first allowing the inning to continue and the run to score.
Shealy and the Bulls offense would atone for the missed opportunity in the bottom of the inning, as they took advantage of some wildness from Braves starter Jose Ortegano and reliever Vladimir Nunez. Durham got a pair of one-out singles by Alvin Colina and Fernando Perez and Ortegano walked Furmaniak to load the bases. After issuing a run scoring walk to Desmond Jennings, Nunez came out of the bullpen with the bases still loaded and Bulls down by one. Joyce singled to tie the game at five, and Dan Johnson followed with a free pass to put them on top by one. Shealy then stepped to the plate and laced a ball into the right centerfield gap, clearing the bases as the ball skipped past the diving centerfielder. Shealy pulled into third with his first triple of the year (and first since 2006), extending the Bulls lead to 9-5.
They added two more in the sixth, as Jennings and Joyce both beat out infield singles to start the inning. A walk to Shealy one batter later loaded the bases, and Angel Chavez brought home a pair of runs with a single to extend the lead to six.
Hernandez picked up the win for the Bulls, despite tying his season high in runs allowed with five. The left-hander finished his night after 5.0 innings, striking out four and walking one while allowing seven hits. R.J. Swindle came on in relief, allowing one earned run in 2.0 innings of work. Joe Bateman and Dale Thayer added scoreless innings to finish out the victory.
The Bulls would tally a single run in the seventh and eighth innings to finish off the scoring. Desmond Jennings brought home a run on a sacrifice fly, and Alvin Colina had a solo homer in the eighth to make the score 13-6.
The victory improves the Bulls to 39-25 on the season, while the loss drops Gwinnett to 28-35. After wrapping up their six-game home stand with a record of 5-1, the Bulls now travel to Gwinnett for the final two games of the series to kick off a 10-game road swing.
In game three of the series, Jeremy Hellickson (8-2 2.50) takes the mound in search of his ninth win this season against RHP Jair Jurrjens (0-0, 0.00) for Gwinnett who will be making a rehab start for the Braves. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m.