DURHAM, NC - The Durham Bulls fell to the Gwinnett Braves 4-1 Saturday evening at the DBAP, falling below .500 for the first time since 2012.
After playing the entire 2013 season above the .500 mark, Durham fell to Gwinnett (2-1) behind a pair of home runs. After three no-hit innings, the G-Braves finally got to Bulls starter Matt Andriese with three straight hits in the fourth, the final one a three-run dinger off the bat of Mark Hamilton.
Durham (1-2) scored its first run of the contest in the fifth frame, when Jerry Sands walked and Kevin Kiermaier singled. After a sac bunt from Ray Olmedo, Eddy Rodriguez notched his first RBI of the season on a groundout to second base, scoring Sands for a 3-1 tally.
However the G-Braves took back a three-run lead in the eighth when Ernesto Mejia cracked his league-leading fourth dinger of the season, a solo shot, over the left field wall.
Daniel Rodriguez (1-0) earned the win, surrendering one run on two hits in five innings while striking out nine. The southpaw retired the first nine hitters he faced before Justin Christian's bunt single leading off the fourth inning put the Bulls in the hit column. Juan Jaime picked up his first save of the season, allowing a walk and a hit in the ninth but escaping unscathed. Andriese (0-1) took the loss, surrendering three runs on four hits over five frames, while Jeff Beliveau tossed two scoreless innings in relief in his 2014 debut.
The four-game series concludes Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. when LHP Mike Montgomery goes for Durham opposite RHP Mitch Atkins for Gwinnett. It's SUNsational Sunday presented by Sun Tan City while Kids Run the Bases after the game sponsored by Nature's Twist.