Durham, NC - The Bulls won their fourth straight game with a 6-0 shutout victory over Louisville on Thursday night at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Carlos Hernandez, Brian Baker and Winston Abreu combined for the Bulls eighth shutout of the year while three, eighth-inning homers helped the offense pull away late as the Bulls have taken the first three games from the Bats in the series.
Hernandez made his first start since June 13 after going on the disabled list with a quad injury. The Durham left-hander allowed five hits and two walks while striking out six in 4.2 shutout innings, but ran into some trouble in the fifth inning as Brian Baker came out of the bullpen with runners at second and third. Baker retired Wladimir Balentien on a pop up, getting the Bulls out of trouble and keeping the Bats off the scoreboard.
The Bulls offense responded by knocking in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the inning. Dioner Navarro reached on an error to start the inning, eventually moving to second on a single by Omar Luna with two outs. Fernando Perez followed with a double over the head of the left fielder, scoring Navarro to put the Bulls ahead 1-0.
The score remained tied heading into the eighth, as Omar Luna reached to start the inning with an infield single off Bats starter Matt Maloney, who had allowed just four hits until that point in the game. After striking out Perez, Angel Chavez stepped to the plate and drove a Maloney offering over the wall in left for a two-run homer. The blast chased Maloney from the game, who was replaced by Daniel Ray Herrera. The Bats lefty allowed a solo homer to Justin Ruggiano on his third pitch, extending the Bulls lead to four as the Bulls went back-to-back for the second time this season (5/4 at Rochester). The Bulls capped off their scoring two batters later, as Navarro blasted the Bulls third homer of the inning, another two-run shot off Herrera to make it a six-run advantage.
Right-hander Winston Abreu worked a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation, as Durham wins their fourth straight and improves their league-best record to 49-31 on the season.
Durham goes for the sweep tomorrow, as they send LHP Heath Phillips (6-6 3.98) to the mound to square off against RHP Matt Klinker (1-1, 4.50) for Louisville. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m. with fireworks planned for after the game.