The Tides (55-87) went three up, three down six times against Bulls starter Matt Torra (5-1) in the penultimate game of the season Sunday night.
The 27-year-old acquired from Arizona in July baffled Tides batters up until the eighth inning. Torra struck out six and averaged an efficient 10 pitches per inning through seven innings as Tides batters constantly swung on the first pitch. Durham improved to 10-1 when Torra starts.
"He's got a nice little slider," Tides manager Gary Allenson said. "He gets ahead with something else and throws that slider up there, and it's a tough pitch to lay off of."
Torra retired 13 straight batters between shortstop Carlos Rojas' single in the third and Hughes' stand-up triple to start the eighth. After the triple, second baseman Brendan Harris reached first base on a hit-by-pitch and catcher John Hester doubled, scoring Hughes, before Dane De La Rosa relieved Torra.
Hester left the game with an injury following the double. He had two of the Tides' four hits against Torra, which may not be a coincidence. In 2007, Hester caught Torra when the two were with the Arizona Diamondback's Class A-Advanced affiliate Visalia.
"I would think it would help you a little bit if you caught the guy before," Allenson said. "You get an idea of how he works and what his stuff does."