DURHAM, NC - Hector Luna blasted two home runs and collected five RBI as the Lehigh Valley IronPigs downed the Bulls 6-3 in Monday's series opener. The International League starter in last week's Triple-A All-Star game, Tyler Cloyd, held Durham to just one run in 6 2/3 innings of work, lowering his ERA to a league best 1.96. The Bulls have now lost seven in a row, after getting swept in Charlotte this past weekend.
Hector Luna started his big night early, smashing a three run shot over the Blue Monster in the top of the first off of Ryan Reid (L, 4-2, 3.86). A 2-out fielding error by the normally sure-handed Reid Brignac allowed Luna to bat in the frame, and the Pigs DH set the tone with the first of two mammoth homers.
Lehigh Valley piled on three more runs in the top of the sixth inning off of reliever Brandon Gomes. Kevin Frandsen led off with his 31st double of the season and came home on an RBI single from Domonic Brown. Two batters later, Luna launched his third home run of the year and second of the night, a two run shot over the Blue Monster. The brother of former Durham Bull Omar Luna finished the game going 3-for-4 with 2 R, 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI and collected a career-high 10 total bases.
Cole Figueroa broke up the shutout in the bottom of the seventh. Durham's second baseman nearly missed his second home run of the season, crushing a double off the top off the right field wall to score Brignac all the way from first base. After rehabbing Rays outfielder Sam Fuld walked, Cloyd exited the game, leaving runners at the corners. Stephen Vogt stepped to the plate to face new pitcher Tyson Brummett and was robbed of an RBI single by a diving Frandsen to end the inning. Fuld finished the night going 1-for-3, with a single and 2 strikeouts.
Durham attempted another comeback in the bottom of the ninth. Former IronPig Rich Thompson started the 2-out rally with a single and was followed by a Shawn O'Malley walk. Vogt then ripped a 2-run single to bring the Bulls within three. The rally was short lived though, as Brandon Allen grounded out to end the game a batter later. Tyler Cloyd (W, 9-1, 1.96) finished the night throwing 6.2 IP, allowing an earned run on six hits, while walking four and striking out five. He earned his 9th win of the year and lowered his ERA to a league best 1.96.
The IronPigs and Bulls are right back at it tomorrow night at 7:05pm at the DBAP. RHP Scott Elarton (5-7, 5.21) takes the hill for Lehigh Valley against the Bulls' RHP Jim Paduch (4-7, 5.45).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.