DURHAM, N.C. - After a 10-game road trip the first-place Durham Bulls' return to the DBAP was an unsuccessful one, as the Syracuse Chiefs took an 8-2 decision Friday night in the opener of a four-game set.
The Chiefs (44-30) used the longball to build an early lead, beginning with Brandon Laird's two-run homer off of starter Matt Andriese in the second inning, and continuing with Zach Walters' two-run bomb of his own in the third.
Syracuse then broke the game open with a four-run fifth inning. Steven Souza and Tyler Moore hit back-to-back doubles, chasing Andriese, and Brian Goodwin greeted reliever C.J. Riefenhauser with an RBI triple for a 6-0 advantage. Later in the frame Laird singled home Goodwin before Josh Johnson's sacrifice fly gave the Chiefs an eight-run advantage.
That was more than enough for Josh Roenicke (3-3) who cruised through six innings, allowing just one run on six hits to earn the win. The Bulls (43-33) scored in the sixth inning on a leadoff double by Mikie Mahtook and a Jayson Nix sacrifice fly, and added an unearned run off of Syracuse's bullpen in the seventh.
Andriese (6-4) took the loss for the first time over his last seven outings, while Riefenhauser, Jake Thompson and Adam Liberatore combined to hold the Chiefs to two runs in five innings out of the bullpen.
The loss marked just the seventh time in 22 series this season that the Bulls have lost the opening game, and just the second time this year that Durham has opened a homestand with a loss.
The Bulls will attempt to even the series with a win on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. LHP Mike Montgomery (8-1, 3.38) starts for the Bulls against RHP James Simmons (0-1, 7.50) for Syracuse.