DURHAM, NC - The Durham Bulls came back on two separate occasions to defeat the Pawtucket Red Sox 9-7 Thursday night at the DBAP in front of 10,370 fans in the opener of a four-game set.
Trailing 7-5 entering the bottom of the eighth, Durham scored four runs after sending 10 men to the plate. After the first three batters reached base via a walk, hit and fielder's choice, Luke Maile ripped a bases-clearing double down the leftfield line that put the Bulls in front 8-7. Later in the inning Maile scored from third base when Boog Powell went to steal second, and Pawtucket catcher Humberto Quintero was called for obstruction for a two-run advantage.
Durham (48-43) found itself trailing early, as the PawSox jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the fifth inning. Six straight batters reached base in the frame for the visitors, plating four runs (three earned) behind four hits, a walk and an error. The Bulls countered in the sixth though, scoring four of their own behind an RBI single from JP Arencibia, an RBI double by Corey Brown, and RBI singles by Richie Shaffer and Maile to tie the game.
In the seventh frame Durham took its first lead when Ryan Brett led off with a triple and scored on Mikie Mahtook's sacrifice fly to rightfield. However, in the eighth Pawtucket (39-53) took a two-run lead behind a two-out, three run homer off the bat of the rehabbing Daniel Nava to leftfield, setting the stage for Durham's second comeback of the evening.
Southpaw CJ Riefenhauser (3-2) earned the win, despite surrendering three runs and the Durham lead in the eighth inning, while Kirby Yates picked up his second save of the season by striking out the side in order in the ninth. Heath Hembree (0-3) took the loss for Pawtucket, allowing four runs (three earned) without recording an out in the eighth.
Offensively for the Bulls all nine starters recorded a hit, while Brett, Brown, Maile and Nick Franklin all finished with two-hit nights.
The series continues Friday when Durham sends RHP Bradin Hagens (1-0, 1.29) to the mound against Pawtucket RHP Joe Kelly (0-1, 2.57). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.