DURHAM, NC -The Durham Bulls scored eight runs over the game's first two innings Thursday night en route to an 8-5 victory over the visiting Gwinnett Braves at the DBAP.
The Bulls jumped all over Braves starting pitcher Patrick Weigel, plating all eight of their runs on seven of their 11 hits over the first two frames. Gwinnett finally got on the scoreboard with two in the sixth, one in the eight, and two in the ninth, but it was too little too late as Durham held on for the series-opening victory.
The Bulls wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, as Shane Peterson lifted a three-run homer over the Blue Monster in left field for a 3-0 advantage in the first.
Durham broke things open one inning later, with Mike McKenry launching an opposite field, two-run homer to right-center to make the score 5-0. After a double and a hit-by-pitch, Willy Adames lined a two-run double to center field for a 7-0 lead. Adames later capped the big inning when he scored all the way from second base on a groundout off the bat of Jake Bauers for an 8-0 Bulls lead.
The eight-run advantage held until the top of the sixth, when Gwinnett finally got to Bulls' starter Yonny Chirinos . Sean Kazmar led off with a single and Mel Rojas Jr. followed with a two-run homer, ending Chirinos' scoreless inning streak at 16 2/3 innings. The Braves got a run in the eighth on a solo long ball by Sean Kazmar and plated two final tallies in the ninth on an RBI groundout from Kyle Kubitza and a balk from reliever Yoel Espinal . Espinal recovered to strikeout Ozzie Albies to end the game with an 8-5 Bulls win.
Both Peterson and McKenry finished the game 1-4 with their respective home runs, while Adames went 1-4 with a double and two RBI.
Chirinos (4-0) earned the win for Durham after going six strong innings with two runs allowed on seven hits and three strikeouts. Weigel (0-1) took the loss for Gwinnett after allowing all eight Bulls' runs on seven hits over one inning of work.
The Bulls (25-14) stretch their South Division lead to four games with the win over the second place Braves (21-18). The two clubs will play again on Friday in game two of the series, with LHP Blake Snell (0-0, 0.00) taking on RHP Lucas Sims (4-0, 2.16) at 7:05 pm.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.