The Durham Bulls doubled up the Tides 4-2 Wednesday night, opening up a 6.0 game lead over Norfolk in the IL Wild Card chase.
The Bulls jumped out to an early 4-0 lead off of Norfolk starter David Pauley (9-11), who failed to get through the fifth inning for just the fourth time in his 24 starts. Pauley surrendered four runs - three earned - on six hits, including a solo home run by Jon Weber in the fifth inning that gave the Bulls a 4-0 lead.
Norfolk cut Durham's deficit in half in the sixth inning, as Rhyne Hughes connected for his first home run in a Tides uniform - a two-run shot off of Bulls starter Jeff Bennett (1-1).
The Tides then put runners on second and third with two outs in the ninth inning, but Bulls reliever Joe Bateman induced Justin Turner to ground out to end the threat and give the Bulls the win in the opener of the three game set.
Norfolk now trails Durham by 6.0 games in the wild card with 12 games remaining on the season, but the Tides do have five contests remaining with the Bulls.
Norfolk and Durham will square off again on Thursday night, with first pitch from Harbor Park slated for 7:15. Chris George (1-1, 4.55) will take the mound for the Tides against left-hander Jason Cromer (6-3, 2.56).