Lawrenceville, GA --- Leslie Anderson's sacrifice fly in the eighth inning broke a scoreless tie as the Durham Bulls defeated the Gwinnett Braves 1-0 on Sunday.
After seven scoreless innings, the Bulls scored the game's only run in the seventh without the benefit of a hit. Tim Beckham was hit by a 1-2 pitch by David Hale, then swiped second. That led to an intentional walk to Vince Belnome, then an unintentional walk to Ryan Roberts filled the bases. Former Bull Joe Beimel entered to replace Hale, and permitted a sacrifice fly to Anderson to right-center to score Beckham and put the Bulls ahead 1-0.
In the Braves 8th, Josh Lueke replaced Merrill Kelly after seven shutout innings. After striking out Sean Kazmar, Lueke walked Jose Constanza, who then executed a delayed steal of second. Todd Cunningham looped a single in front of Brandon Guyer in right field, with Constanza advancing to third. But Brandon Boggs grounded into a double play to shortstop to get Lueke and the Bulls through the 8th with the lead intact.
In the Bulls seventh with Mike Fontenot at second with two outs, Evan Frey bounced an infield single up the middle with shortstop Sean Kazmar diving to keep the ball on the infield. Kazmar rose and threw behind Fontenot at third base, who had aggressively rounded the bag by a step. Fontenot was tagged out to end the inning.
Bulls starter Merrill Kelly (W, 3-0) had to sweat through the first couple of innings against the Braves, inducing a double play to end the first, then stranding two runners in the second.
The Bulls squandered a second inning chance against David Hale (L, 3-4), stringing three 1-out hits together by Leslie Anderson, Brandon Guyer and Mike Fontenot. However, an 11-pitch at-bat by Chris Gimenez resulted in a double play grounder to shortstop.
Lueke (S, 11) worked the final two innings to record his 11th save in 12 tries. Fontenot led the Bulls' offense with three of their eight hits. Kelly worked seven innings, allowing just three hits and fanning two. Kelly retired the final 11 hitters he faced.
The Bulls regained a 7 1/2 lead in the South.
Matt Buschmann starts the opener of a two-game set in Charlotte on Monday night at 7:15 PM ET.