by Mike Potter
DURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK The Bulls’ homestand continues with another four-game series against a representative from the North Division.
Tonight under cloudy skies in come the Rochester Red Wings, who are a game above .500 but in fifth place in the loaded division.
The Bulls won three of four against the Red Wings in their earlier series on the road.
Lance Pendleton (4-4, 4.24) will go for the Bulls tonight against Esmerling Vasquez (3-4, 3.38).
Durham takes the lead early, holding on for a 7-4 win.
The Bulls take a 3-0 lead in the first. Will Rhymes, in his first game since being sent down from Tampa Bay, launches a 1-0 pitch into the right-field bleachers. Then after Henry Wrigley hits a one-out single, Stephen Vogt blasts a 2-0 offering into the right-field seats.
Clete Thomas cuts it to 3-1 when he leads off the Red Wings’ second by rocketing a 1-0 pitch into the seats in right center.
The Bulls tack on another run in the fifth, as Tim Beckham leads off with a single and scores on Rhymes’ two-out single to center.
The game is delayed by rain for 42 minutes in the sixth.
Durham tacks on two in the seventh on Reid Brignac’s one-out double.
The Red Wings score twice in the eighth on Rene Rivera’s one-out double, but the Bulls make it 7-3 in the bottom of the frame as Wrigley leads off with a single and scores on Leslie Anderson’s double.
Bulls closer Dane De La Rosa gets into and out of a jam in the ninth, Rochester scoring its only run as Danny Valencia leads off with a double and scores on Wilkin Ramirez’ sacrifice fly to a sliding second baseman Beckham in foul territory behind first.
Vogt and Rhymes each homer and single for the Bulls. Pendleton gets the win, going five innings and allowing a run on seven hits with seven strikeouts against a pair of walks.
Vogt: “Pendleton was good. I know he wanted to go more than five innings, but he was executing his pitches better than he has been. He kept us in the game and gave us a chance to win. Every day is big. Whether we’re one game back or 11 games back we’re going to play the same way. Tonight we were fortunate enough to get the hits we needed.”
Rhymes: “I was feeling good up there. I felt good that I was able to stay in the swing of things. I’m not trying to make a statement, just trying to go out and keep playing hard and see what happens.”
What does it all mean?
That the Bulls seem to have the Red Wings’ number.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Brignac’s double in the seventh.
Bulls: Won 1.
Rochester: Lost 1.
Bulls lead 4-1.
Bulls (Chris Archer 5-8, 4.68) vs. Rochester (Luke French 1-5, 6.61), Saturday, 7:05 p.m.