Ryan Yarbrough became second Durham Bulls starter to reach double digits in wins as he struck out a career-high 13 on Friday night in a 5-3 win over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Yarbrough (10-4) joined teammate Yonny Chirinos atop the International League wins list along with Shawn Morimando of Columbus and Aaron Siegers of Rochester as they've all won 10 games.
“I’m not trying to strikeout a certain number of guys,” Yarbrough said. “I’m just trying to keep myself in good situations. Everything felt like it was working, my slider or curve, I was able to do some damage, which was nice, especially against a lineup like that.”
Bulls manager Jared Sandberg called Yarbrough’s outing exceptional.
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“He pitched extremely well,” Sandberg said. “That was impressive. The strikeouts just piled up.”
Designated hitter Casey Gillaspie hit his ninth home run, while Kean Wong hit his third of the year. Both homers came in the bottom of the third as Durham built a 3-0 lead for Yarbrough.
“I got one that I put a good swing on and watched it go,” Gillaspie said.
Lehigh Valley chipped away at the Bulls' lead with a runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
Matt Williams doubled in Harold Martinez, who led off the fifth with a single. And in the sixth, Rhys Hoskins hit a solo home run.
The Bulls added to their lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth to regain the momentum.
Rickie Weeks, who joined the team on Wednesday with while on a rehab assignment from Tampa Bay, drew a leadoff walk. He was followed with one out by Johnny Field, who reached on a errant throw by Lehigh third baseman Harold Martinez to put runners at second and third. Curt Casali knocked them in to make it 5-2 but was thrown out at second trying to stretch his single into a double.
Yarbrough gave way in the seventh to Hunter Wood, who was just moved to the bullpen. Wood pitched two innings before Chaz Roe finished off the ninth to earn his first save.
The IronPigs' final run was a solo home run off Wood by Scott Kingery to lead off the eighth.
The Bulls (60-38) were much sharper in their second matchup against Lehigh Valley after dropping a 12-6 decision in their series opener that saw them commit a season-high four errors. Durham snapped Lehigh Valley's five-game winning streak.
The teams will play the third game of their four-game set on Saturday (6:35 p.m., WDNC-AM 620). Left hander Michael Roth (0-2, 6.55) will be seeking his first win for the Bulls, while Lehigh Valley will send Brandon Leibrandt (3-0, 2.05).