Bulls pull out 14-inning win over Pawtucket
“That had to be one of the best games ever seen in the playoffs,” Durham Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo declared after his team scored the night’s only runs in the top of the 14th inning to beat the Pawtucket Red Sox 2-0 in game three of the Governors’ Cup championship series.
With the hard-fought, draining win, the Bulls stand one game away from capturing their second International League title in Montoyo’s seven-year managerial tenure in Durham. But it took nearly six hours of tense, aching drama to get there.
The Bulls finally broke through in the 14th inning — without a hit, befitting the team’s long, deep slump — thanks to a pair of fielding gaffes by Pawtucket. With one out, right fielder Bryce Brentz misplayed Kevin Kiermaier’s drive into a three-base error.
Cole Figueroa was intentionally walked, and Tim Beckham followed with a chopper to second baseman Brock Holt, who fielded and threw home, but catcher Christian Vazquez had run up the first base line to back up a possible play there, and the throw sailed to the backstop, scoring Kiermaier. After Vince Belnome walked, Jason Bourgeois’ fielder’s-choice grounder scored Figueroa with an insurance run.
The Bulls needed it, at least psychologically. Their eighth pitcher of the game, closer Kirby Yates, nearly coughed up the lead in the bottom of the inning. Yates loaded the bases with two outs on a hit batter and two walks, but he struck out Brentz with the tying run on second base to earn his fourth save of the postseason in anxious fashion.
“I didn’t feel tired,” Yates said, despite his wobbly finish. “I had been throwing in the bullpen a couple of times earlier in the game. That may have had something to do with it. It came down to one pitch, and that’s the only one that matters.”
Yates saved the win for Enny Romero, the left-hander who was making only his second appearance with the Bulls since his Labor Day promotion to Triple-A. Romero threw two relief innings — scoreless, of course.
“I had already used almost all my other relievers — ‘You gotta go,’” Montoyo said of using Romero out of the bullpen after he spent the season as a starter at Double-A Montgomery.
The two run-starved teams have combined to score just eight in the three games of the series. Durham and Pawtucket combined for 11 hits in 14 innings, and all but two were singles.
It was more of the same for the Bulls — other than a five-run, first-inning outburst against Indianapolis in game two of the first round, Durham has managed just 10 runs in 57 postseason innings.
Both teams had great chances to end the game sooner. Pawtucket had runners on first and third with one out in the eighth, but Durham reliever Jeff Beliveau, who grew up in nearby Providence, struck out the next two PawSox as a large group of his friends and family cheered.
Pawtucket reliever Chris Martin matched Beliveau, striking out two Bulls in a row with the bases loaded and one out in the 10th inning. The PawSox loaded the bases in the 12th, but Romero struck out Mark Hamilton to prolong the game. The two teams went a combined 1-of-28 with runners in scoring position and struck out 33 times.
“I was light-headed,” said Kiermaier, whose run broke the scoreless tie. “I ate before the game, but after 10th inning, I went into the clubhouse and all I could find were sliced tomatoes, so I ate a whole container of them.”
Yates said the Bulls still are hungry, though — for something other than tomatoes.
“I was into the game the whole time,” Yates said. “I was in every pitch. A lot of us got a lot of good rest (Thursday after a long overnight bus ride). I think we’ll be ready to go (Saturday). I know we will.”
If they are, and can pull out one more win, they’ll be champions.
NOTES — Attendance for Friday night’s game was 4,548. ... Pawtucket lost back to back games for the first time in 35 games… Right-hander Merrill Kelly (1-0, 0.00, playoffs) starts for Durham this evening against Pawtucket knuckleballer Charlie Haeger (1-0, 0.00) at 6:05 p.m. … If the Bulls win the series, they will claim the second straight Governors’ Cup trophy presented at McCoy Stadium. The Bulls won the title there in 2003, the most recent time the International League championship was decided in Pawtucket. The PawSox won the championship in 2012, but the clinching game was played on the road.
Durham Bulls (2-1) 2, Pawtucket Red Sox (1-2) 0
September 13, 2013
|Figueroa, C, 3B||6||1||0||0||1||3||5||.240|
|Beckham, T, SS||7||0||1||0||0||2||2||.321|
|Anderson, Le, DH||6||0||1||0||1||2||6||.158|
|Flores, J, C||4||0||0||0||1||4||3||.077|
2B: Anderson, Le (1, Barnes, M), Beckham, T (3, Carter).
TB: Beckham, T 2; Guyer 2; Bourgeois 2; Kiermaier; Anderson, Le 2.
RBI: Bourgeois (2).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Belnome; Flores, J; Figueroa, C 2; Guyer; Fontenot 2; Anderson, Le.
SAC: Flores, J; Fontenot; Bourgeois.
Team RISP: 1-for-15.
Team LOB: 16.
SB: Kiermaier (2, 2nd base off Barnes, M/Vazquez).
E: Figueroa, C (2, fielding).
Outfield assists: Bourgeois (Holt at 1st base).
|Henry, Ju, CF||6||0||1||0||1||1||4||.350|
|Diaz, J, 3B||3||0||0||0||3||1||1||.120|
|Hamilton, M, 1B||5||0||0||0||2||2||7||.148|
|Butler, D, DH||3||0||1||0||1||0||0||.316|
|2-Thomas, T, PR-DH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.333|
|Barnes, M, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Villarreal, B, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Wilson, A, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Martin, C, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Carpenter, C, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|1-Ran for Hassan in the 8th. 2-Ran for Butler, D in the 9th.|
TB: Hazelbaker; Thomas, T; Butler, D; Henry, Ju.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Meneses; Brentz 4; Hamilton, M 4; Henry, Ju; Vazquez.
SAC: Meneses; Thomas, T.
Team RISP: 0-for-13.
Team LOB: 17.
SB: Henry, Ju (1, 3rd base off Buschmann/Flores, J), Diaz, J (1, 2nd base off Buschmann/Flores, J), Hazelbaker (1, 2nd base off Beliveau/Flores, J), Holt (1, 2nd base off Geltz/Flores, J).
CS: Henry, Ju (1, 2nd base by Buschmann/Flores, J), Hazelbaker (1, 2nd base by Riefenhauser/Flores, J), Thomas, T (1, 2nd base by Riefenhauser/Flores, J).
E: Brentz (1, fielding), Holt (1, throw).
|Romero (W, 1-0)||2.0||0||0||0||3||1||0||0.00|
|Yates (S, 4)||1.0||0||0||0||2||2||0||0.00|
|Carpenter, C (L, 0-1)||1.0||0||2||0||2||2||0||0.00|
IBB: Kiermaier (by Carter), Belnome (by Carter), Anderson, Le (by Carter), Figueroa, C (by Carpenter, C), Diaz, J (by Romero).
HBP: Diaz, J (by Buschmann), Hazelbaker (by Romero), Meneses (by Yates).
Pitches-strikes: Buschmann 94-52, Liberatore 1-1, Sandoval 34-21, Beliveau 19-13, Geltz 15-11, Riefenhauser 26-17, Romero 44-21, Yates 35-18, Barnes, M 91-55, Beato 11-8, Villarreal, B 12-8, Wilson, A 22-12, Carter 36-16, Martin, C 15-11, Rowland-Smith 37-24, Carpenter, C 28-17.
Groundouts-flyouts: Buschmann 1-5, Liberatore 1-0, Sandoval 2-3, Beliveau 1-0, Geltz 2-1, Riefenhauser 0-1, Romero 4-1, Yates 1-0, Barnes, M 6-1, Beato 1-2, Villarreal, B 1-1, Wilson, A 0-1, Carter 2-0, Martin, C 0-0, Rowland-Smith 2-2, Carpenter, C 2-1.
Batters faced: Buschmann 21, Liberatore 1, Sandoval 8, Beliveau 4, Geltz 4, Riefenhauser 5, Romero 10, Yates 6, Barnes, M 22, Beato 4, Villarreal, B 3, Wilson, A 4, Carter 9, Martin, C 3, Rowland-Smith 8, Carpenter, C 7.
Inherited runners-scored: Liberatore 2-0, Beliveau 1-0, Geltz 1-0, Beato 1-0, Martin, C 3-0.
Umpires: HP: Jon Byrne. 1B: David Soucy. 2B: Chad Whitson. 3B: Brad Myers.
Weather: 75 degrees, cloudy.
Wind: 8 mph, Out to RF.
Venue: McCoy Stadium.
September 13, 2013
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media