There were no post game fireworks at the DBAP, but the Bulls lit up the place from the start, jumping all over Rochester from the opening inning, holding on for a 6-3 win over the Red Wings.
With the win, Durham wins the four-game series in the only matchup between the two clubs. The Bulls dropped the first game of the series during a doubleheader Tuesday night, then pulled off three in a row.
In the latest win, Durham (32-20) collected 11 hits and wasted little time getting the bats going. Johnny Field and Willy Adames started the contest with consecutive singles and Jake Bauers was walked to load the bases. Curt Casali was hit by a pitch for the first run and Mike Marjama cracked a double to give Durham an early 3-0 lead.
Field (3-4) has thrived at the leadoff spot the last few games. Bulls’ Manager Jared Sandberg said he didn’t know if Field was an ideal leadoff man, but the 25 year-old has set the tone during the recent home stand. Sandberg wanted to see how Field would respond to being in the number one slot, and the results have been positive for Field and the team.
“I love hitting leadoff,” Field said. “I try to make things happen and leadoff is the perfect place to do that. I feel like I have so many good hitters behind and they are going to come out with fastballs in the leadoff spot, I’m a pretty good fastball hitter so I love hitting there.”
The bats cooled down over the next five innings, with Durham taking advantage of a wild pitch to build a 4-0 lead. With the offense suddenly quiet, the defense never made the 7,009 fans in attendance never break a sweat. Behind pitcher Jake Faria, the defense didn’t give up a hit until the fourth inning and, more times than not, make quick work of the Red Wings three batters. Only three times through the first six innings did Faria have to face more than three batters.
“I feel comfortable at home,” Faria said. “I was able to get out early in the count. I didn’t have my best stuff, but (catcher) Mike Marjama called a great game and I was able to make the pitches when I needed. I love our defense, it’s awesome. I know when a ball gets put in play, even when it’s a tough play I have all the confidence in the world to pitch to contact and let them do their work.”
Rochester’s first real threat came in the seventh when leadoff batter Niko Goodrum hit a double and advanced to third with a steal. After a pop out from Kenny Vargas, Faria struck out two in a row to leave Goodrum stranded.
The bats got going again for Durham in the seventh. Dayron Varona, Field and Adames each got hits, with Field and Adames both hitting doubles. Jake Bauers then drove in two runs with a single to make it 6-0 in favor of the home team. It was Bauers who scored on the wild pitch in the third.
The Red Wings (23-25) made things interesting in the top of the eighth, scoring three runs to cut the Bulls’ lead in half. Bengie Gonzalez drove in one run and Goodrum scored two with his second double. Edwin Fierro, who replaced Faria, struggled a bit, but struck out ByungHo Park to end the inning. After struggling during their last road trip, the Bulls have thrived at home, righting their wrongs in the friendly confines of the DBAP.
“This team is pretty freaking good,” Field said. “We were a little rusty on the road, but we got back here in a home setting and guys started heating back up again.”
The Bulls start a three-game home series with Pawtucket on Friday at the DBAP. Brent Honeywell (3-5, 4.93) gets the start for Durham. Henry Owens (4-3, 2.98) will start for the Red Sox.