Toledo, OH --- Jake Cronenworth had four hits while Ricardo Pinto worked five solid innings to lead Durham past Toledo 7-1 on Tuesday afternoon at Fifth Third Field.
Cronenworth had three singles and a third inning double to reclaim the International League batting lead, but departed the game in the sixth inning with an injury after his fourth hit. Cronenworth scored twice, including from second base on a sacrifice fly to the centerfield wall by Joe McCarthy in the fifth inning.
Durham (57-39) took a 2-0 lead against Toledo starter Gregory Soto (L, 0-3) in the third inning when Nathan Lukes and Cronenworth scored on a bouncer to Mud Hens first baseman Dustin Peterson, who muffed the grounder for one error, then committed a second error by overshooting Soto covering the first base bag.
Peterson would later leave the game after he dove for a groundball in the sixth inning. Lukes was forced out of the game as well after he was hit by a pitch from Soto in the third. The Bulls were forced to play the final four innings of the game with relief pitcher Ryan Merritt playing right field. Merritt had his first professional at-bat in the eighth inning, fanning against reliever Caleb Thielbar on a 2-2 fastball after fouling away three pitches.
The Bulls took a 3-0 lead in the fifth on McCarthy's sac fly to the 406' sign in centerfield. Daz Cameron made a leaping catch at the wall, but Cronenworth timed his departure from second base perfectly to score. The Mud Hens appealed at second base, but were rejected.
After Toledo (43-52) scored a run in the fifth against Pinto (W, 6-3), Durham scored twice more in the sixth and tacked on two more in the seventh.
Cronenworth went 4-4, lifting his average to .342, passing his teammate Kean Wong, who fell to second-best at .339 after a 1-5 afternoon. Cronenworth started the day eight points behind Wong.
Pinto recorded the win after working five solid innings, fanning eight. Pinto permitted just three hits and one walk, lowering his ERA to 3.58. Ian Gibaut opened for Durham, his first outing since making his major league debut for the Tampa Bay Rays last Friday against Baltimore.
Jake Faria (S, 1) recorded his first career save, throwing three exquisite innings in relief to close out the game. Faria fanned four and retired the final seven batters he faced.
With the victory, Durham took a two game lead on second place Gwinnett, pending its game Tuesday night against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.
The four-game series continues with Toledo on Wednesday night at 7:05 PM ET. Sam McWilliams (0-0, 7.20) is expected to start against Toledo's Tim Adleman (3-3, 2.94).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.