DURHAM, N.C. – The Buffalo Bisons are so hot that they, for at least one game, figured out how to win in a ball park that has been their house of horrors in recent years.
The Herd defeated the Durham Bulls, 5-1, in the opening game of a doubleheader Thursday night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The Bulls won the nightcap, 1-0, as Nick Franklin’s sixth-inning homer broke the scoreless knot in which the Bisons had just two hits.
Herd outfielder Kevin Pillar increased his hitting streak to 14 games with an infield hit to lead off the seventh but was erased on a game-ending double play two batters later.
In the opener, Pillar went 2 for 3, including an RBI double in the sixth that made it 5-1. That victory enabled the Bisons to snap a 10-game losing streak in Durham as they posted their first win here since June 21, 2011.
Buffalo took a 2-0 lead in the fourth on Jonathan Diaz’s run-scoring single and Adron Chambers’ RBI groundout. Andy LaRoche’s two-out, two-run double in the fifth made it 4-1 Herd.
Buffalo is just 3-19 in Durham since 2009 but has won 14 of its last 18 games.
The Bisons trail wild-card leading Pawtucket by 2ø games heading into tonight’s rematch with Durham (7:05, Radio 1520 AM). Lefty Sean Nolin (3-4, 3.02 ERA) gets the start for the Herd, who welcomed outfielder Cole Gillespie to the team Thursday. He was sent down by Toronto, which claimed him off waivers from Seattle, to make room for lefty pitcher Rob Rasmussen.