DURHAM, NC - The Durham Bulls snapped a four-game losing streak in front of 10,219 fans Saturday night at the DBAP, beating the Gwinnett Braves 5-3 behind three hits from Jake Hager and a strong relief outing by Eddie Gamboa.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the second, Durham (58-77) erupted for three runs in the bottom of the frame to take a lead it would never surrender. After JP Arencibia and Jaff Decker earned back-to-back one-out walks, Jake Goebbert lined a double to right that scored the pair. Two batters later Hager knocked a double of his own, scoring Goebbert for a two-run lead.
In the fifth Hager struck for the home side once more, doubling with one out before scoring when Curt Casali laced a single to right. The very next inning Durham extended its lead again when Casey Gillaspie tripled to lead off the frame, and scored when Arencibia reached on an error on a grounder to shortstop.
Gwinnett (61-73) would not go quietly though, as Rio Ruiz's bases-loaded double scored two runners in the eighth inning to cut the deficit to 5-3. In the ninth the visitors put the tying runs aboard, but a 6-4-3 double play ended the contest to even the series.
After the rehabbing Alex Cobb allowed one run across four innings on 58 pitches, Eddie Gamboa (6-4) entered out of the bullpen. The knuckleballer proceeded to allow two runs on four hits over the game's final five innings, striking out eight to earn the victory. Chris Ellis (4-6) took the loss, surrendering five runs (four earned) on five hits over six innings.
Hager provided the punch out of the leadoff spot for Durham, finishing 3-for-4 with two doubles, a run scored and an RBI. Goebbert went 1-for-3 with two RBI and a run, while Gillaspie's triple was his first of the season.
The rubber match of the three-game set is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. on Sunday at the DBAP. RHP Jake Faria (3-4, 3.83) takes the hill for the Bulls against RHP Aaron Blair (5-4, 4.65) for the G-Braves.
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