DURHAM BULLS ATHLETIC PARK It all comes down to one game for the Governors’ Cup.
The Durham Bulls will go for their fifth one in 13 seasons tonight against the Pawtucket Red Sox, who traditionally have been their worst regular-season tormentors. But the Bulls have won two Governor’s Cups with Pawtucket on the short end, one in three straight in 2003 and another by a 3-1 count just last year.
The winner will play against the champions of the Pacific Coast League in the Triple-A National Championship Game on Tuesday night at the brand new park in Charlotte.
Merrill Kelly will go for the Bulls tonight against Keith Couch.
Pawtucket will come into the final game with momentum, following a 4-2, 13-inning comeback win Friday night that left a large crowd stunned and the Bulls reeling.
The PawSox finish the job in Game 5, scoring all but the last run of the game in a 4-1 victory as the Bulls get only three hits.
Pawtucket gets all of its runs with straight numbers.
The PawSox get a run in the first as Ivan DeJesus – whose two-run homer had won Game 4 – leads off with a single and scores on Bryce Brentz’ two-out double.
They add another in the third, as Rusney Castillo leads off with a ground-rule double, steals third and scores on DeJesus’ sacrifice fly to right.
It goes to 3-0 in the fifth, as Ryan Lavarnway – who is named MVP of the playoffs – leads off with a homer to left.
And to 4-0 in the eighth, as Garin Cecchini strokes a one-out double to right and scores on Corey Brown’s two-out double to right.
The Bulls make some noice in the bottom of the ninth when Jeremy Moore homers to right on a 2-1 pitch, but Miguel Celestino retires the side and the visitors celebrate.
Couch gets the win, going 6 2/3 innings and allowing just one hit while striking out four against two walks.
They said it …
Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo: “We got as far as we could. We won the league last year and we took it to the final game this year. Nobody would have thought we could make it this far. We were one pitch away last night and they took it away from us. Last year we won the game before and had all that momentum. Yesterday, for me, was the series. Our hitting was last in the league and our pitching was in the middle, and we kept grinding it out until we got to the last game.”
PawSox manager Kevin Boles: “We were hoping to sustain some momentum from last night. But this whole series was a battle. What an honor to be in it against Durham. The Rays organization has a lot to be proud of. Our guys have just grinded through it all year, and we’re looking forward to that National Championship game.”
PawSox DH and Duke alum Alex Hassan: “It was a lot of fun playing in this stadium and the fans were great. Every game was tight. Last night was a crazy game, but we got the momentum and played well tonight.”
What does it all mean?
That the PawSox are headed to Minor League Baseball’s version of a bowl game, while the Bulls are headed either to the Winter Leagues or to vacation.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Bulls: Lost 2.
Pawtucket: Won 2.
Pawtucket vs. Reno or Omaha in Charlotte, Tuesday, 7 p.m.
Bulls at Gwinnett (season opener), April 9, 2015