DURHAM, NC - Tied in the bottom of the ninth inning, Joey Butler crushed a two-run, walk-off homer over the Blue Monster in left field as the Durham Bulls beat the Gwinnett Braves 8-6 Friday night at the DBAP.
Squared at 6-6 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Mikie Mahtook delivered a one-out single, before Butler hit his second homer of the season to give the Bulls (8-8) their fourth win in their last five games. Butler finished the evening 2-for-4 with four RBIs, while Mahtook went 2-for-3 with three runs scored, an RBI and a walk.
Durham scored the contest's first two runs in the first inning. Eugenio Velez singled and Mahtook walked, before Butler drove each of them in on a double to left-center field. The G-Braves got a run back in the top of the second on a solo home run, but in the bottom of the frame the home side struck for a pair once again. Luke Maile, Leonardo Reginatto and Alexi Casilla all reached to lead off the inning, loading the bases with no outs. After a strikeout, Velez singled to score Maile, and two batters later Mahtook was hit by a pitch to score Reginatto and make it a 4-1 ball game.
Gwinnett (5-10) stormed back though, as Cedric Hunter's solo homer in the fourth made it a two-run game. Then in the fifth the visitors scored three times behind five hits and a walk to take a 5-4 advantage. The back-and-forth battle continued in the bottom of the frame, as a single by Maile tied the game, before Casilla put the Bulls back in front on an RBI single to left field.
Right-hander Bryce Stowell (1-1) picked up the victory with a scoreless ninth inning, extending his scoreless inning streak to 8 2/3 frames. Southpaw Greg Smith (0-1) took the loss, allowing Butler's two-run dinger in the ninth.
The series continues Saturday when the Bulls send LHP Everett Teaford (1-1, 4.20) to the hill opposite RHP Mike Foltynewicz (0-2, 1.62) for the G-Braves. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.