Moosic, PA --- Nick Solak and Jason Coats hit opposite field home runs to lead Durham to a 6-2 win over Scranton in the weekend series opener at PNC Field on Friday night.
Solak drilled his first home run against his former organization, driving out a fastball from Raynel Espinal (L, 3-6) over the right field wall in the second inning. Solak was traded in February, 2018 by the Yankees as part of a three-team deal to the Tampa Bay Rays.
In the fourth, Jake Smolinski delivered the first of his two run-scoring doubles, bringing home Nate Lowe from first base on a rising liner over the glove of third baseman Gosuke Katoh. Two batters later, Coats drove a slider from Espinal over the right field wall for a two-run homer, lifting the Bulls' lead to 4-0.
Jake Faria worked two perfect innings as the Bulls' opener, yielding to Ricardo Pinto (W, 4-2), who pitched five effective innings, permitting just a solo home run to Logan Morrison in the fifth.
Durham (46-27) tacked on a run in the top of the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Dalton Kelly before the first place Rail Riders attempted a late game rally.
With Vidal Nuno entering to pitch the eighth, Scranton loaded the bases with two outs on two singles and a hit batsman before Nuno fanned Clint Frazier as the tying run.
After Smolinski doubled home Kean Wong in the top of the ninth to boost the lead to 6-1, the Rail Riders caused another nervous moment in the bottom of the ninth.
Hunter Wood, who pitched two innings on 27 pitches on Wednesday, needed 39 to close out the Rail Riders, who brought the tying run to the plate again. The first four reached against Wood on a double and three singles, but Wood retired Tyler Wood, Mike Ford and Breyvic Valera to close out the Bulls' fourth straight win.
WIth the victory, the Bulls opened up their largest South Division lead of the season, a 6 1/2 game lead over both Charlotte and Gwinnett.
Brendan McKay (3-0, 1.35) starts Saturday night against the Rail Riders' Chance Adams (4-1, 3.40) at 6:35 PM ET.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.