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Bulls Best 'Birds with 7-5 Season-Opening Victory in Memphis

May 5, 2021 - Triple-A East League (AAA East) - Durham Bulls News Release

MEMPHIS, TN - Bulls shortstop Wander Franco drove in two runs and collected three hits, including a go-ahead RBI single in the bottom of the seventh, while Durham third baseman Kevin Padlo and designated hitter Dalton Kelly both homered in a 7-5 season-opening victory over the Memphis Redbirds 7-5 on Tuesday evening at AutoZone Park.

After Memphis jumped out to an early 4-0 lead following an hour and 45 minute delayed start, Franco's RBI triple scored RF Vidal Bruján to spur a four-run fourth punctuated by big flies from Padlo and Kelly. Franco would later come across via a sacrifice fly by Tampa Bay Rays infielder Ji-Man Choi, who joined Durham on Tuesday as part of a Major League Rehab Assignment. Memphis 3B Max Moroff would smash a solo shot in the fifth to push the Redbirds back ahead, however, Durham countered two innings later with run-scoring knocks from Bruján and Franco to move ahead 6-5.

The Bulls bullpen excelled as well, with Colin Moran (0.1 IP, K), Trevor Richards (1.0 IP, H, BB, 2 K), Yacksel Rios (1.0 IP, H, 2 K), Joey Krehbiel (1.0 IP, 3 K) and Louis Head (1.0 IP, 2 K) combining for 4.1 shutout frames, striking out ten of 17 batters faced. Richards earned the victory and Head notched the save, while Redbirds reliever Connor Jones (0.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, K) suffered the defeat.

The two teams are set to face off again on Wednesday evening, with first pitch scheduled for 7:45pm ET. RHP Joe Ryan, the Rays 2019 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, is expected to make his Triple-A debut for Durham, while Memphis' starter has not yet been announced.

Following Durham's road series in Memphis, the Bulls are set to return to Durham Bulls Athletic Park to begin their 2021 home slate versus the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp on Tuesday, May 11. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35pm. Tickets with socially-distanced seating for that game and all Bulls home games in May are available at

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