Durham, N.C. - The Durham Bulls snatched a 2-1 victory from the jaws of defeat on Opening Day at the DBAP, beating the Gwinnett Braves Monday night in front of a crowd of 8,035. Following back-to-back ringing singles by Wil Myers and Leslie Anderson to lead off the last of the ninth, the Braves defense faltered at the wrong time. A Brandon Guyer grounder was misplayed by Gwinnett shortstop Sean Kazmar, allowing the tying and winning runs to score, giving the Bulls a walk off win in two consecutive home openers.
The Bulls and G-Braves mustered just eight total hits on Monday night as both starting pitchers had it going early and often. Gwinnett starter Omar Poveda didn't allow his first hit of the game until the fifth when Vince Belnome lashed one into right field. Poveda walked away with the no decision but deserved better as he worked 6.0 innings of scoreless baseball. The RHP yielded just one hit while he struck out four Bulls and walked two.
Durham's Jake Odorizzi was in cruise control himself, matching Poveda pitch-for-pitch as the right-hander struck out eight batters through 6.2 innings of work on 83 pitches, 52 for strikes. He left with the no decision after surrendering no runs on four hits while yielding two walks.
The newest Bull, promoted from Double-A Montgomery earlier Monday, Adam Liberatore was the first pitcher out of the pen for Durham. The southpaw worked 1.1 perfect innings and handed the game over to the Josh Lueke (W, 1-0) who finished the final 1.0 inning in relief. Lueke allowed one unearned run to score in the ninth when a batted ball went off his glove and he was awarded the fielding gaff. The righty struck out two and walked one.
Gwinnett's bullpen was near flawless until Andy Russell (L, 0-1) entered the game in the ninth inning. Lefty Yohan Flande was brilliant for 2.0 innings of one-hit baseball before making way for Russell. The righty did not record an out while he allowed two runs on two hits including a walk.
The Bulls entered the ninth inning of their home opener trailing the G-Braves 1-0 following a bizarre turn of events in Gwinnett's half of the ninth that enabled them to score the first run of the night. However, Durham answered right back in their half as Myers crushed a single through the right side. Anderson followed with a roped single of his own that allowed Myers to cruise into third base with no outs. Following a Chris Gimenez walk to load the bases, Brandon Guyer stepped to the plate with an opportunity to win the game. A misfielded groundball to Gwinnett shortstop Sean Kazmar enabled both Myers and Anderson to come around and score following the error. All three runs plated by both teams in the ninth inning were unearned and Guyer was granted no RBI on the final play.
Meanwhile, four Bulls managed to reach base on singles and four reached on walks issued Monday night. The Bulls and Braves are now tied for first place with 4-1 records in the young season.
Tuesday night the Bulls will ready for battle against the IL South Division rival Braves once again. LHP Alex Torres (0-0, 0.00) will make his first start of the 2013 campaign against LHP Daniel Gonzalez (0-0, 0.00) for a 7:05 p.m. first pitch from Durham Bulls Athletic Park.