The Durham Bulls won a rare (for them) slugfest yesterday, scoring four runs in the top of the first inning and fending off Charlotte 8-7 at Knights Stadium, which is actually in Fort Mill, South Carolina.

Matt Joyce carried the load for the Bulls, hitting a two-run homer in the first and adding a soft two-run single to center in the sixth. Bulls starter Mitch Talbot (3-2) picked up the win, allowing four runs in five innings. Dale Thayer earned his fourth save for Durham. He came in with a man on and one out in the ninth and gave up a single to Andy Phillips, but then retired Daryle Ward and Michael Restovich to end the threat.

A couple of notes:

* The Bulls pitchers gave up eight walks yesterday. That’s out of character for them; they average 3.34 per nine innings.

* Catcher John Jaso hasn’t played since Saturday, when he was lifted for a pinch-runner (his backup, Craig Albernaz) after singling in the bottom of the 7th inning. According to Mike Potter, who covers the Bulls for the Durham Herald-Sun, Jaso has a minor injury, but that hasn’t been confirmed. The Bulls’ Director of Media Relations, Matt DeMargel, hadn’t heard that Jaso was hurt at all.

* Meanwhile, utility man Elliot Johnson has been placed on the 7-day disabled list with a broken hand. (How it’s going to heal in just a week isn’t clear.) Catcher Alex Jamieson, who began the season in Durham before Albernaz replaced him, has returned to the team, which may suggest that Jaso isn’t about to return to the lineup. We’ll keep tabs on all of this during the road trip.

* For the graphics-inclined, Chris Wise has some statistical charts to ponder over on Watching Durham Bulls Baseball.

* Celebrity minor-league lefty David Price takes the hill tonight for the Bulls in Charlotte. He’s looking to rebound from an inefficient, control-shaky start on Saturday night against Columbus.