Wes Bankston went 3-for-4 with his 10th home run and J.P. Howell allowed only two earned runs in 7.1 innings as the Durham Bulls beat the Charlotte Knights on Saturday night.
Howell, recently demoted from the big-league club, didn’t walk a batter, finished the game with nine strikeouts -- a season high -- and scattered just as many hits to earn the win for Durham. With the victory, the young left-hander, who went 1-4 with a 7.36 ERA in eight starts with the Devil Rays, improves his Triple-A record to 5-6. He is also among the team leaders with a 3.20 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 104.0 innings pitched.
Shawn Camp, who was also recently optioned to Triple-A from Tampa Bay, registered the game’s final five outs to earn the save, his third for the Bulls this month. Camp, Tampa Bay’s career leaders for pitching appearances in a single season, still hasn’t allowed an earned run in four appearances with the Bulls. He was 0-3 with a 7.20 ERA in 50 appearances for the Devil Rays.
Bankston – the only player with more than one hit for Durham in the win -- led the offensive attack for the Bulls. He finished the night 3-for-4 with a home run, a solo shot in the third inning, and raised his batting average to .252. He is currently among the team leaders with 10 home runs and 46 RBIs.
Shortstop Jorge Velandia, who contributed his 19th double of the year, had the only other extra-base hit for Durham. With Ben Zobrist recently being recalled to Tampa Bay, Velandia has seen more time at shortstop, his natural position. The veteran minor leaguer is hitting .248 with 24 RBIs this season.
Game notes- Evan Longoria, the Devil Rays top overall prospect, finished the night 1-for-3. Longoria is hitting .300 with two home runs since being promoted from Montgomery last week.
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