DURHAM, NC - The Durham Bulls earned a 6-4 win in their first game after the All-Star break, defeating the Norfolk Tides on Stranger Things Night behind two homers from Emilio Bonifacio Thursday at the DBAP. Cole Sulser (5-3) recorded the victory for the Bulls, while Sean Gilmartin (0-2) suffered the loss for the Tides.
Bonifacio got the scoring started right off the bat, with a leadoff home run off Tides starter Dan Straily in the bottom of the first. The lead was maintained until the third, when Jack Reinheimer launched a solo home run of his own to tie the game at 1-1.
The Bulls and Tides continued to trade blows in the fifth and sixth innings, when Austin Hays scored on a throwing error by Bulls catcher Michael Perez to take a 2-1 lead. Dalton Kelly tied the game once again, with an RBI sacrifice fly to tie the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth.
The sixth inning was dominated by the long ball, with Norfolk recording back-to-back home runs from Christopher Bostick and Zach Vincej to take a 4-2 lead. Joe McCarthy immediately responded with a two-run blast in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie the game at 4.
Bonifacio wasn't done though, with his second solo home run of the game in the bottom of the eighth inning to put the Bulls ahead for good. The multi-home run game marked the first of its kind for the 34-year old. Perez put the game away with an RBI single in the same inning, giving the Bulls a 6-4 lead.
The Bulls will face off against the Tides in game two of a four-game series at 7:05 p.m. at the DBAP on Friday. Right-hander Sam McWilliams will make his Triple-A and Durham Bulls debut, and will face off against Tides right-hander Chandler Shepherd.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.