DURHAM, N.C. - The first-place Durham Bulls matched their biggest comeback of the season, recovering from an early four-run deficit to beat the Toledo Mud Hens 11-10 at the DBAP Sunday evening.
Toledo hit three home runs in a four-run first inning, but the Bulls battled back in the second, tying the game on a three-run home run by Justin Christian.
That was all the scoring Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo got to see. When home plate umpire A.J. Johnson called Jeremy Moore out on a play at the plate in the third, Montoyo argued the call and was ejected, marking his first ejection since July 20, 2010, a span of 584 games.
Without their manager, the Bulls (57-50) fell behind again, giving up two runs in the fifth and one in the sixth to trail 7-4. Durham wasn't done, however, mounting their second comeback of the night in the sixth inning.
Vince Belnome led off with a homer to right, before Christian added an RBI single, his fourth RBI of the night, and Mike Fontenot tied the game on an RBI grounder. Christian then scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.
The Bulls added some insurance in the seventh on an RBI double by Belnome and a two-run triple by catcher Ali Solis. They needed it all as a mammoth three-run homer by Mike Hessman in the ninth cut Toledo's (54-56) the margin to one.
Adam Liberatore (4-1) earned the victory with one-third inning of relief, as starter Matt Andriese allowed seven runs (six earned) over 5 2/3 innings. Jose Ortega (2-2) took the loss, surrendering a run in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning.
Christian finished 3-for-5 with four RBIs, while Belnome and Solis each 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored. Durham tied a season-high with its 16 hits, and finished a run shy of tying its season-high for runs. The teams combined to hit seven dingers, with the Bulls surrendering five of them. With the win, Durham snapped a four-game losing skid.
The Bulls close out the homestand with a 7:05 p.m. game on Monday. RHP Nathan Karns (7-5, 4.91) starts for the Bulls against Toledo LHP Duane Below (8-4, 3.78).