Durham Bulls infielder Joe Dillon
  • File photo by D.L. Anderson
  • Durham Bulls infielder Joe Dillon

DBAP/DURHAM It’s the finale of the Durham Bulls’ four-game home series against the Pawtucket Red Sox, and the Bulls have apparently gotten their mojo back.

The Bulls came home on a five-game losing streak and have proceeded to win two of the first three games in the series. The teams have split 1-0 decisions in their previous two games.

Tonight is the PawSox’ getaway night and the last time the teams will square off in Durham this season unless they meet in the playoffs.

Heath Phillips (3-4) will go for the Bulls tonight against Michael Bowden (1-2) on a cloudy, mild evening.

The Bulls win the series with an 8-5 victory, despite the fact Dale Thayer has one of his worst relief outings as a Bull and Mike Ekstrom has to come in and clean up.

Durham takes a 2-0 lead in the first as Elliot Johnson triples to right with one out and then scores when Dan Johnson lifts a 3-2 pitch high into the right-field seats.

Lars Anderson leads off the Pawtucket second by blasting a 3-2 offering into the right-field seats. The PawSox then tie the score in the fourth as Daniel Nava leads off with a double to left center and scores on a grounder to short from N.C. State alum Aaron Bates.

But the Bulls take control with four runs in an odd sixth inning off Fabio Castro, with runs scoring on an error, a line single off the shortstop’s glove and a double-play ball.

Joe Bateman (2-0) gets the win.

Dillon finishes with four hits including a trio of doubles with an RBI, while Dan Johnson has two hits including the homer, and Elliot Johnson a triple and single for two RBI.

After the game, Durham pitcher Heath Rollins is demoted to Montgomery. Jason Cromer will be headed to Durham for Thursday’s game.

They said it …

Bulls skipper Charlie Montoyo: “Ekstrom made some big pitches. We don’t just have one closer. They all can do it — Ekstrom, Thayer, Bateman, (Winston) Abreu and (R.J.) Swindle. Dillon’s a professional hitter. He’s done that before. I’m just glad we hit better than we have been over the last two weeks. I’m just happy we’re off (Wednesday.) When you win a game and have a day off and you’re at home it’s good. Sometimes if you travel in between it’s like there was no day off.”

Pawtucket manager Torey Lovullo: “I was proud of the guys — they didn’t quit. We had some opportunities we didn’t capitalize on early in the game when we could have broken it open. But we broke down defensively and in a couple of key moments offensively.”

Dillon: “I try to have a feel for what the situation calls for, and get a hit and get on base. I just want to get good swings and keep being more consistent. It’s a long season. I’m glad we’ve got a great group of guys here who have had success in the past.”

What does it all mean?
That the Bulls are enjoying some home games after their recent tough road trip.

Stars of the game
1. Dillon.
2. Dan Johnson.
3. Shealy.

Play of the game
Dillon’s double in the eighth.

Series record
Bulls lead 3-1.

Durham: Won 2.
Pawtucket: Lost 2.

Durham: none.
Pawtucket: none.

On deck
Rochester at Bulls, Thursday, 7:05 p.m.

Glen Perkins (L, 0-6, 9.09) vs. Aneury Rodriguez (R, 2-2, 3.52)

Norfolk at Pawtucket, Thursday, 7:05 p.m.

Chris George (L, 1-1, 4.22) vs. Boof Bonser (R, 0-2, 10.61)