DURHAM, NC - The Durham Bulls dropped their sixth straight game Thursday night at the DBAP, falling to the Norfolk Tides 8-5 in front of 10,007 fans in the opener of a three-game set.
The game got off to a fast start, as the Tides (55-71) scored three times in the game's first inning. With one out the Bulls failed to turn a potential inning-ending double play, and Francisco Pena then drove home a pair with a double to left. Christian Walker followed with a run-scoring double of his own to put the visitors in front 3-0.
Durham (54-72) answered in the bottom of the first inning though, as Jake Hager singled and Daniel Robertson laced a triple one batter later to put the Bulls on the scoreboard. After a strikeout, Taylor Motter brought home Robertson on a ground out to make it a one-run game.
In the third inning Norfolk took the lead for good when Audry Perez cracked a three-run homer off the Snorting Bull. The Tides extended their lead in the next inning, as Ozzie Martinez singled home Paul Janish, and Trey Mancini's sac fly to left made it an 8-2 contest.
The home side did not go quietly however, scoring twice in the eighth inning when Curt Casali's double to center scored Motter and Decker to cut the deficit to four runs. In the ninth, Casey Gillaspie beat out an infield single that scored Hank Conger to make it an 8-5 game and bring the tying run to the plate. Motter grounded out to third to end the contest though, as the Bulls fell to 7-15 against the Tides in 2016.
Righty Joe Gunkel (8-9) allowed a pair of runs over six innings on six hits while striking out eight to earn the victory, while Justin Marks (6-11) suffered the loss after allowing eight runs on eight hits in four frames.
Casali picked up three of Durham's nine hits, driving in two, while Robertson tallied a pair of extra-base hits as the Bulls fell to 3-14 in the month of August.
The series continues Friday when Durham sends RHP Jaime Schultz (5-5, 3.02) to the mound against RHP Mike Wright (3-3, 3.28) for the Tides. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.