The Durham Bulls won their season-high fifth straight game on Friday night, beating the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders 8-4 at the DBAP. The series opening victory assures the Bulls will maintain at least a one game lead over Norfolk in the IL South.
The Bulls scored in the first inning for the fifth straight night when Wil Myers singled in Jason Bourgeois, who had tripled. Myers, Bourgeois and Rich Thompson all extended hitting streaks to nine games to tie for the current team lead.
Durham recorded three triples on the night, including back-to-back three baggers by Tim Beckham and Cole Figueroa in the fourth. The Bulls scored in five of the first six innings, and eight of the nine Bulls in the starting lineup got hits. Brandon Guyer's two-run homer in the sixth gave the Bulls a 7-2 lead and appeared to be in cruise control.
Jim Paduch got the ball for a spot start after scheduled starter Chris Archer became the fourth member of Durham's starting rotation to get a promotion to the Big Leagues this season. Archer will start for the Rays in Cleveland on Saturday.
Paduch went an efficient 6.1 innings, allowing 4 runs, but he ran into trouble in the seventh. Zolio Almonte led off the seventh with a homer to center, the third allowed by Paduch in the game. Thomas Neal had the other two. Three singles loaded the bases, and Matt Buschmann, promoted from Double-A Montgomery earlier in the day, entered the game. It was his first relief appearance since April 20 of last year.
Buschmann's first pitch was a tailor-made double play grounder, but Fontenot couldn't get the ball out of his glove at second to throw on to first to end the inning. One run scored, and Buschmann struck out the next better to get out of the inning.
Buschmann struck out 3 for the game, closing out the RailRiders and earning his first save in eight years as a pro. The five straight wins are a season-high for the Bulls. Paduch (W, 2-3, 7.54) earned the win, handing former Bull Chris Bootcheck (L, 5-1, 3.09) his first loss of the year.
Game two of the series with the Yankees' top farm team continues on Saturday at 7:05pm. Chien-Ming Wang (3-4, 2.65) will start for the RailRiders against a yet to be determined Bulls opponent.