DURHAM, N.C. - The Durham Bulls moved closer to the IL South Division title with a 5-3 win over the Gwinnett Braves Sunday evening at the DBAP. Paired with a loss by second-place Norfolk in Charlotte, the Bulls can now clinch the division for the seventh time in eight years with either a win or a Norfolk loss.
After the Braves (60-75) scored a run in the top of the second for a 1-0 lead, the Bulls stormed back in the bottom of the inning with RBI singles by Nick Franklin and Tim Beckham. The single by Beckham extended his hitting streak to all nine games since he joined the Bulls this season.
Gwinnett tied the score in the fifth on Brandon Boggs' RBI triple, but the Bulls (70-65) broke the tie an inning later when shortstop Hak-Ju Lee delivered a two-run triple to jump in front 4-2. Jeremy Moore capped the Bulls' scoring with a solo homer in the eighth.
Todd Cunningham hit a ninth-inning solo homer off of Adam Liberatore, snapping his scoreless inning streak at 18 2/3 frames. After allowing a double later in the inning, Liberatore set down the final two hitters he faced for his second save of the year. The dinger allowed by the southpaw was the first homer surrendered since August 9, 2013, a span of 56 appearances.
Merrill Kelly (8-4) earned the win in relief with two scoreless innings, as he hasn't allowed a run in his last seven relief appearances, spanning 10 1/3 frames. Gwinnett starter Kanekoa Texeira (3-5) took the loss, allowing four runs on four hits in 5 2/3 innings.
The Bulls conclude their 10-game homestand Monday at 7:05 p.m. RHP Matt Andriese (11-7, 3.76) starts for the Bulls against RHP Terry Doyle (3-3, 3.30) for the G-Braves.