NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The Durham Bulls broke open a close game with eight runs in the final three innings to top the Norfolk Tides 10-5, taking Game 1 of the best-of-three International League championship series at Harbor Park Tuesday.
Coby Mayo drove in two of the Tides runs with a double in the bottom of the third, which tied the game at 2-2 after Tristan Gray and Ruben Cardenas had hit solo homers for the Bulls in the first and third innings, respectively.
Connor Norby, who went 3-for-4, hit a changeup over the left-centerfield fence for a solo homer to give Norfolk a 3-2 lead, which held until the seventh.
Bruce Zimmerman started the game and went two innings before Chesapeake native Garrett Stallings pitched five strong innings, but took the loss despite striking out eight batters.
Nick Vespi couldn’t stop the bleeding, allowing four earned runs and getting just one out while allowing a hit and walking three batters. It didn’t get much better for T.J. McFarland, who walked two and allowed a hit while getting two outs. Mike Baumann struck out three in the ninth, but also allowed a hit, a walk, two wild pitches and an earned run.
Lewin Díaz hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, but that was not near enough for the Tides.
Norfolk will try to even the series Wednesday against Durham in a must-win game. Start time is 6:35 p.m. at Harbor Park. Game 3, if necessary, will be played at 6:35 p.m. Thursday, also at Harbor Park.