LAWRENCEVILLE, GA - The Durham Bulls (86-55) scored early and often to defeat the Gwinnett Braves (70-71) 10-2 in game four of the five-game series on Sunday afternoon at Coolray Field.
The win marks the third in the first four games of the series for the Bulls. The G-Braves will need to win on Monday in order to secure a .500 record for the season.
Durham began the offensive onslaught in the first inning as RBI doubles from Willy Adames and Patrick Leonard brought in the opening runs of the afternoon against Gwinnett starter Josh Collmenter (L, 1-1).
In the second, former G-Brave Mallex Smith singled, stole second, and then scored on the play as two throwing errors extended the Bulls lead to 3-0. Over the next two innings, Johnny Field, Justin O'Conner, and Daniel Robertson each hit solo home runs to make it 6-0 Bulls, ending Collmenter's afternoon.
In his final start of the season, Collmenter gave up six earned runs on eight hits over 4.0 innings while walking three and striking out five.
The six runs proved to be plenty of support for Durham starter Brent Honeywell (W, 12-8). The Carnesville, GA native shut down the G-Braves for 5.1 scoreless innings, giving up just four hits while walking none and striking out five.
The Bulls turned to knuckleballer Chris Pike, making his Triple-A debut, in relief of Honeywell in the sixth. He was strong in relief, keeping the G-Braves off the board for most of his outing.
For Gwinnett, David Peterson gave up a run on a wild pitch while striking out three over 3.0 relief innings as the Durham lead grew to 7-0. Jason Hursh tossed a scoreless eighth. In the ninth, home plate umpire James Rackley ejected both reliever Evan Phillips and manager Damon Berryhill. Kyle Kubitza then made his first career pitching appearance and gave up a three-run homer to Field as the Bulls reached double digits.
Sean Kazmar Jr. got Gwinnett on the board in the bottom of the ninth by launching a two-run home run off Pike, his 11th of the season, down the left-field line to cut the Bulls lead to 10-2. Pike (S, 1) tossed the final 3.2 innings, giving up two earned runs on four hits to finish the win.
Kazmar led the way for the G-Braves by going 3-for-4 with the two-run homer. Rehabbing Atlanta Braves' utility man Danny Santana was 2-for-3.
The Bulls were led by Robertson, who went 4-for-5 with two runs scored while finishing a triple short of the cycle. Field was 3-for-4 with two home runs and four RBIs in the win.
In the season finale on Monday afternoon, Manny Barreda (2-1, 2.33 ERA) will start for the G-Braves against the Bulls' Hunter Adkins (0-0, 13.50 ERA). First pitch on Labor Day at Coolray Field is set for 1:05 p.m. Dave Lezotte has the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM The Other Side of the River beginning at 12:35 p.m.
As part of Dog Day Monday, fans can purchase a Coolray Field Lawn ticket and bring a dog in free. The offer is valid for lawn seating and dogs aren't permitted on the main concourse. For tickets, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.