DURHAM, NC – The Durham Bulls put together a four-run rally in the second inning and rode it the rest of the night on Tuesday, as the Bulls held off the visiting Syracuse Chiefs for a series-opening 4-3 win at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Six of the seven total runs in the game were scored in the second inning, as the Chiefs opened the frame with a pair of tallies before the Bulls answered with all four of their runs to take a lead they would hold for the rest of the night. The offensive production was also just enough to give starting pitcher and Tampa Bay Rays No. 2 prospect Brent Honeywell (1-0) his first Triple-A victory.
The two teams entered the second in a scoreless tie before a fielding error by Durham shortstop Willy Adames allowed a runner to reach ahead of a two-run home run by Matt Skole for a 2-0 Syracuse lead. The Bulls responded in the bottom of the inning with some help from the opposing defense as well.
Jake Bauers started the rally with a one-out walk before Casey Gillaspie hit what could have been a double play groundout to third, but Chiefs’ third baseman Grant Green threw wildly to second base for an error which allowed both runners to stay on base. Curt Casali followed with a walk to load the bases for Granden Goetzman, who lined a three-RBI triple off the top of the right field fence to give the Bulls the lead. One out later, an RBI double off the bat of Kean Wong drove in the fourth run of the inning for Durham and put the home team on top 4-2.
Syracuse mounted one last rally attempt against a tiring Honeywell in the top of the sixth, as the Chiefs loaded the bases with two outs against the Bulls’ starter. Honeywell appeared to get out of the inning with a strikeout of Pedro Severino, but the put-away pitch ricocheted away from Casali behind the plate and the resulting wild pitch allowed a run to score and the inning to continue.
The Durham bullpen came to Honeywell’s rescue however, as Justin Marks entered and recorded the final out of the inning to strand the bases loaded and maintain the Bulls’ 4-3 lead. Andrew Kittredge, Adam Kolarek, and Diego Moreno all followed out of the pen, with the trio combining for three scoreless innings of relief to finish off the 4-3 Durham victory.
Honeywell earned the win for the Bulls with three runs allowed, two earned, on five hits, one walk, and nine strikeouts over 5.2 innings pitched. Moreno (2) picked up the save after tossing a perfect ninth. Chiefs starter Greg Ross (0-1) took the loss after giving up four runs, two earned, on three hits, four walks, and two strikeouts during his 3.2 IP.
Goetzman led the Durham bats with a 2-4 game including his first triple of the year and three RBI. Wong also finished with a good night, going 1-4 with a double and an RBI.
The Bulls (12-6) and Chiefs (8-8) have a quick turnaround with game two of their three-game series scheduled for 10:35 am on Wednesday, with LHP Ryan Yarbrough (0-2, 3.93) taking on RHP Austin Voth (1-1, 6.57).
Story Credit: Durham Bulls