Rochester, NY - Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (17-16) came all the way back from a 7-2 deficit to tie the game at 7-7 with a five run seventh highlighted by a Cole Garner's three run homer. The Durham Bulls (13-23) who would prevail, taking the opening game of the four game series by a score of 8-7 in 10 innings on Friday night at Frontier Field in Rochester.
The first two innings was a pitchers duel between Ramon Ortiz and Lance Pendleton, but the Durham offense awoke in the top half of the third inning, taking a 5-0 lead. Craig Albernaz scored on a Cole Figueroa line drive to center for the first run. In the next at bat, Jesus Feliciano singled up the middle allowing Kyle Hudson to score from second. Despite the run scoring, Figueroa was called out at second base on the force play. Reid Brignac capped off the five-run third inning with a monster three-run home run off the advertising boards in left field.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre chipped away at the Durham lead with a two-run fourth inning. Francisco Cervelli got the Yankees on the board with a line drive single to left field, scoring Ronnier Mustelier. Later in the inning, Yadil Mujica scored Colin Curtis on a line drive to right field.
The Yankees threatened again in the bottom of fifth when Mustelier roped a two-out double over Steve Salazar's head in right field moving Jack Cust over to third. However, Pendleton battled back in the next at bat by striking out Curtis stranding Mustelier and Cust in scoring position.
The Bulls extended their lead to 6-2 in the top half of the sixth. With two outs in the inning and runners on the corners Mike O'Connor threw over to first to try and pick off Craig Albernaz, but Shawn O'Malley then broke for home and scored on the double steal. Cervelli was credited with an error for allowing Albernaz to advance to third. Juan Miranda then placed an RBI single in between Ray Kruml and Curtis in right-center, making it a 7-2 game after 6 1/2 innings.
The Yankees responded in a big way with a five-run seventh inning. Steve Pearce started the rally with a solo home run way over the advertising boards in left field. Cust then singled and Mustelier was hit by a pitch. Curtis then bounced into a fielder's choice giving the Yankees runners on the corners. Cervelli then roped a single down the third base line scoring Cust from third. Cole Garner then crushed a three-run homer into the left field bullpen tying the game at 7-7. It was Garner's first home run of the season.
The Bulls took an 8-7 advantage on an infield single off the bat of Figueroa. O'Malley scored from third on the perfectly placed slow roller.
Mike O'Connor suffered the loss falling to 1-1 for the Yankees, while Brandon Gomes improves to 1-0 with the win.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre fell to 17-16 and Durham improved to 13-23. The Yankees and the Bulls take the field again tomorrow night at 7:05 for game two of a four game series in Rochester. Nelson Figueroa (1-1, 6.35) gets the ball for the Yankees, while Jim Paduch (1-1, 3.46) gets the nod for Durham.