DURHAM, NC - Sean Rodriguez crushed a two run shot off the iconic Snorting Bull in left field, powering the Bulls to their season-high sixth straight win on Sunday's homestand finale. The 4-3 victory over Norfolk gave Durham its first five game sweep since 8/11-8/15/07 over Charlotte.
Rodriguez, in his second game with Durham since being optioned from Tampa Bay, was the difference in Sunday's contest. After Rich Thompson singled in the third and stole his second of three bases, Rodriguez crushed a ball off the famous "Hit Bull, Win Steak" Snorting Bull sign on top of the Blue Monster. The blast gave Durham a 2-0 lead and won an Outback steak dinner for Rodriguez and a lucky fan. Both Thompson and Rodriguez finished with multi-hit contests, combining to go 5-for-8 with a HR, 2 doubles, 2 RBI, and three steals.
Cesar Ramos (W, 5-5, 3.77) was nearly unhittable in his second outing of the homestand. The lefty allowed a triple in the first inning to L.J. Hoes, but then retired 10 straight Tides. Ramos got into trouble just once on Sunday. He loaded the bases in the fifth inning, but Tim Beckham chased down a pop up near the Tides bullpen to keep his scoreless effort intact. He finished throwing six shutout innings, allowing just three hits and striking out a season-high six batters in the process.
Tim Beckham added to the Bulls lead in the fourth when he rocketed a ball to dead center for his sixth home run of the season.
Norfolk would cut the Bulls lead in half after Ramos left the game though. Josh Lueke entered in the seventh and allowed a leadoff single to Luis Expositio. With one swing of the bat, Brandon Waring brought the Tides within two with his 11th homer of the year. Brandon Gomes picked up for the Bulls in the eighth and after tossing a 1-2-3 frame, he ran into trouble in the ninth. Despite allowing a run, Gomes struck out Waring to ensure the rare five game sweep and Durham's season-high 6 game win streak.
The Bulls have the day off on Monday, but travel to Norfolk to take on the Tides on Tuesday. RHP Chris Archer (7-9, 3.79) will begin the three game series for the Bulls. Game time is set for 7:15pm and can be heard on 620 The Buzz, 99.9 HD-3 The Ticket and durhambulls.com. The Bulls return home on Friday, August 31 for the final two regular season home games of the 2012 campaign.