DURHAM, NC - The Durham Bulls sailed past the Norfolk Tides by a score of 8-3 on Friday night at the DBAP. Chris Gimenez sealed the Bulls fourth straight victory with a 3-run blast in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Durham got the scoring started early and led the entire night. The Bulls scored three runs in the bottom of the second to lift Matt Torra (W, 12-6, 4.16) to his team-leading 12th win. Henry Wrigley started the rally with a single and moved to third when Stephen Vogt doubled down the right field line. Reid Brignac then smacked a 2-run single to right field to put the Bulls on the board. Brignac came home to score himself two batters later when Tim Beckham knocked him in with the first of his three hits on the night.
Vogt added another run in the bottom of the third to pad the Bulls lead. After Leslie Anderson and Wrigley singled in the frame, the Bulls catcher collected his 300th career MiLB RBI with a single.
Norfolk would chisel away at the Bulls lead in the third and fourth. Luis Exposito launched his fifth homer of the season to lead off the top of the third. In the following frame Cole Figueroa dove over the tarp to catch a pop up from Joe Mahoney for the second out. However, one batter later, Bill Hall launched his 14th blast of the season to pull the Tides to within a run.
That would be as close as the Tides would get though, as the Bulls broke the game open in the bottom of the fourth inning. Beckham started a 2-out rally with a single to right field. Figueroa then bounced a ball to Ryan Adams that should have ended the inning, but the second baseman threw the ball away to extend the frame. Gimenez took full advantage of the situation and crushed a pitch over the right field fence to make it a 7-3 game. Two frames later, Leslie Anderson launched his 14th home run of the season, giving the Bulls an 8-3 advantage.
Torra finished throwing six solid innings, allowing three runs on two homers while striking out five. Josh Lueke relieved him and had a terrific rebound performance, tossing two scoreless frames with two more strikeouts. He set the stage for Adam Liberatore who entered in the ninth. Liberatore struggled and left the game with the bases loaded and two outs. Charlie Monotoyo went to his closer Dane De La Rosa, who struck out Ronnie Paulino looking to earn his 18th save of the year. Durham's pen has not allowed a run in their last 13.2 innings.
The Tides and Bulls move on to game four of the five game series tomorrow night at 7:05pm. Rays starting pitcher RHP Jeff Niemann (0-0, 8.31) will make his second scheduled rehab start for the Bulls opposite Norfolks' LHP Zach Clark (4-1, 1.44).