The Durham Bulls came into this game needing just one victory to wrap up their second International League Championship in a row. For a while it looked like they would be able to pull out ahead, but some late innings drama resulted in a Bulls’ loss. The team now heads into a win or go home situation as the best of five series is tied at two games each.
Triple-A International League: Pawtucket Red Sox 4, Durham Bulls 2 (13 innings)
Mike Montgomery battled control issues, walking 6, but he still put together a solid start. He went 6.0 innings, giving up 1 run on 3 hits while striking out 6. Montgomery had seemingly turned things around this season, posting a 3.21 ERA through his first 17 starts. But after skipping a start due to some elbow discomfort Montgomery struggled, posting a 7.63 ERA over his final 8 starts (not including playoffs). Cory Burns kept his ERA a perfect 0.00 by throwing 1.2 innings of no-hit ball in relief. Adam Liberatore then finished out the 8th and tried to earn the save by coming back out for the 9th with the Bulls ahead by one run. He was one strike away from doing just that, but ultimately Liberatore let up the tying run to send the game into extras. Doug Mathis locked things down with 2.0 scoreless innings, and then Jake Thompson threw a scoreless 12th. Thompson came on again in the 13th, but this time he allowed a pair of runs to earn the loss.
The offense managed a solid 9 hits and drew 4 walks but in the end they did not do enough to win the game. It was more of a team effort, as 8 of 9 starters had at least one hit and only Nick Franklin had multiple hits. Luke Maile had the Bulls’ only extra base hit- an RBI double. Maile spent the entire regular season at Double-A, but the Rays had enough faith in him to add him to the Bulls’ playoff roster, where he has taken over the starting catching spot. All-in-all a tough loss for the Bulls, but they had already given themselves a one-game lead and thus will have another chance to win the series when Merrill Kelly takes the mound tonight for game five.