For the first time this year in the Governors’ Cup Finals, it isn’t a pitcher stealing the headlines. This time it was Durham’s Daniel Robertson‘s turn to be the hero. The 23-year old went 3-for-3 driving in four of the Bulls six runs leading Durham to the Governor’s Cup title. It is Durham’s fifth title, and first since 2013 when they defeated the Pawtucket Red Sox. Scranton/WB’s bid to win back-to-back titles fell short on Friday as they lost the best-of-five series 3-1.
After the teams matched zeroes the first two innings, Scranton/WB was the first to break the tie. In the bottom of the third inning Jonathan Diaz led off the inning with a single for the RailRiders. After advancing to on a Donovan Solano ground out, Diaz would be driven in by Miguel Andujar‘s RBI-single. The lead would be short lived.
Durham, who hasn’t had to play from behind most of the postseason, found themselves in unfamiliar territory heading into the fourth. After back-to-back singles with one out, and a walk, Robertson stepped in with bases loaded. He took the first pitch he saw from Scranton’s Brady Lail and smacked it into right field for a 2-run single. A third run would score on the throw home as the ball got away from the RailRiders catcher Kyle Higashioka also allowing Robertson to reach second. Lail would strike out Justin Williams to end the scoring and the inning, but would find himself on the business end of a 3-1 game.
The Bulls never looked back. They’d score one more insurance run in the fifth and two more in the sixth, which they would end up needing. Scranton would try claw back into the game scoring one run in each of the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, but trailing 6-4 would be as close as they would come.
Burch Smith started the game for the Bulls but would only go 4.2 innings before being pulled. Durham would use a total of six pitchers in this one, with Hunter Wood being the pitcher of record. Diego Castillo nailed down the save and would be on the mound for the celebration. Lail picked up the loss for Scranton lasting just five innings in this one giving up four runs. Jonathan Holder would give up the home run to Robertson accounting for the other two Durham runs.
With the win, the Durham Bulls will now face the winner of the Pacific Coast Leauge, in a one game winner-take-all Triple-A National Championship Game. They will face either the Memphis RedBirds (St. Louis) or the El Paso Chihuahua’s Tuesday night in Scranton.
Hard to believe that after 1,993 games in the International League between the regular season and the postseason there is just one remaining.
***Photo Courtesy of MiLB.com***