DURHAM, NC - The first-place Durham Bulls dropped the finale of their four-game set with the Pawtucket Red Sox, falling 7-0 Friday night at the DBAP to split the series.
After shutting out the PawSox on Thursday evening, the Bulls' offense struggled to get on track in front of a sellout crowd of 10,164 fans. Pawtucket starter Anthony Ranaudo (6-4) and the PawSox bullpen combined to three-hit the Bulls, as a second-inning double by Justin Christian and a Cole Figueroa single in the third were the only base runners allowed by Ranaudo, who earned the win. Figueroa added a second single in the ninth for Durham's final hit.
Meanwhile, the PawSox (30-33) scored early and often, beginning with Christian Vazquez's three-run homer in the first inning off of Bulls' starter Enny Romero (3-6), who gave up six runs and eight hits in three innings of work to absorb the loss.
Merrill Kelly, recently moved from the starting rotation into the bullpen, saved the Bulls' (37-26) relievers from wear and tear by pitching the final six innings, striking out eight and allowing just four hits.
The PawSox added three runs in the third - highlighted by a two run double from Carlos Rivero - and another in the fourth on a sacrifice fly from Travis Shaw to break the game open.
Durham finishes its season-long 10-game homestand with two games against the Norfolk Tides. The first game is set for 7:05 p.m. Saturday, with RHP Matt Andriese (5-3, 3.56) starting for the Bulls against RHP Eddie Gamboa (4-4, 4.20) for the Tides.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.