Durham defeated Louisville 3-2 in best-of-5 first-round series.
Durham, which on the South Division in the regular season and had the league's best record at 88-55, advanced. The Bats scored just seven runs in the final four games of the series and five in the three games in Durham. Friday, they beat righthander Alex Cobb, who struck out 10 in his Triple-A debut but yielded a two-run homer to Todd Frazier that was enough for Matt Klinker and the Bats bullpen. Saturday, the Bulls got five scoreless innings from reliever-turned-starter Paul Phillips and put away an 8-1 victory with Chris Richard's fourth-inning grand slam off Ben Jukich. In Sunday's finale, J.J. Furmaniak broke up a 2-2 tie with a solo homer in the fifth, and 30-year-old veteran relievers Joe Bateman and Winston Abreu combined for four scoreless innings. Durham advances to its fourth straight Governor's Cup finals, which no team has done since Columbus did in from 1967-70.
Columbus defeated Scranton/Wilkes Barre 3-1 in best-of-5 first-round series.
Righthander Yohan Pino provided the pivotal effort in Game Three, tossing seven one-hit, scoreless innings in a 1-0 victory. He out-dueled lefty Kei Igawa, Scranton's career wins leader, who had retired 18 straight batters from the first inning through the seventh. Catcher Luke Carlin, who went 5-for-10 with three doubles and a homer in the series, doubled and scored on a single by Jose Constanza for the game's only run. In the Game Four clincher, the Clippers sent 12 men to the plate in the fourth inning and scored seven runs to turn a 3-2 game into a 10-2 rout and eventual 11-5 victory. Scranton hit six homers in the series but batted just .187 while playing without catcher Jesus Montero, who missed the series after having surgery to treat an infection in his leg.
Championship Series: Columbus vs. Durham begins Tuesday, Sept. 14.
Pacific Coast League
Memphis swept Oklahoma City 3-0 in best-of-5 first-round series
Memphis righthander Lance Lynn got hot down the stretch, going 5-1, 2.70 in August, and delivered a signature performance in Game Three against Oklahoma City. Lynn struck out a career-high 16 batters, finishing off Memphis' first round sweep with seven innings of three-hit ball. Outfielder Jim Rapoport was the offensive star for the Redbirds, collecting seven hits in the series, as the defending PCL champs returned to the league's championship series.
Tacoma defeated Sacramento 3-2 in best-of-5 first-round series
Sacramento nearly came all the way back from losing the first two games of the series at home before Tacoma pulled out a 4-1 win in Game Five at Safeco Field in Seattle, where the Rainiers' postseason home games were held as renovations have already started at their home park. The series-clinching run scored on a gaffe on the part of Sacramento first baseman Tommy Everidge, who tossed the ball into the stands after what he thought was an inning-ending double play in the seventh with the score tied at one. But the runner at second had actually been called safe, and Everidge was charged with a two-base error allowing the run to score. Dustin Ackley had a big series for Tacoma, further putting his dismal start to the year in the rearview mirror. The No. 2 overall pick in last year's draft hit .316/.435/.474 (6-for-19) in the series, highlighted by his grand slam in Game Two.
Tacoma faces Memphis in Championshp Series beginning Tuesday, Sept. 14.
With the Mariners' coming home from a road trip making Safeco unavailable for Tacoma's home games, the entire best-of-five series will be played in Memphis.
Trenton swept New Hampshire 3-0 in best-of-5 first-round series.
The Yankees have had a very good year developing pitching, which was very apparent in the first round of the Eastern League playoffs. Of course, it didn't hurt that Andy Pettitte made a rehab appearance as well. Trenton's starters (Pettitte, Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos) combined to throw 16 1/3 scoreless innings. The Thunder bullpen wasn't much worse–they allowed one run in 13 2/3 innings as the Fisher Cats were held to one run for the series. Rene Rivera had three home runs for Trenton.
Altoona defeated Harrisburg 3-1 in best-of-5 first-round series.
Chase D'Arnaud and Josh Harrison each homered twice as the Curve outlasted the Senators to advance to the Eastern League championship series. Altoona hit eight home runs as a team during the series. Daniel Moskos picked up two saves with 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief work.
Altoona vs. Trenton championship series begins Tuesday night.
Jacksonville defeated Mobile 3-1 in best-of-5 first-round series
The Suns lost Mike Stanton to the big leagues not long after they wrapped up a playoff spot during the regular season, but they still have plenty of pitching. Elih Villaneuva (8.2 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K), Brad Hand (6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 Ks) and Jose Rosario (5 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 6 Ks) were the difference as Jacksonville held the BayBears to a .207 average for the series.
Tennessee defeated West Tenn 3-1 in best-of-5 first-round series
When you're looking at prospect-laden playoff rotations, the Smokies trio of Chris Archer, Chris Carpenter and Trey McNutt is one of the better ones around. Archer was rocked (3 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 6 ER) in his start, but Carpenter (6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 8 Ks) and McNutt (5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 Ks) each shut down the Diamond Jaxx in their starts to help Tennessee advance. First baseman Matt Spencer had two home runs for Tennessee during the series while center fielder Brett Jackson had three doubles. While most of the Diamond Jaxx lineup struggled, outfielder Carlos Peguero hit .467 (7-for-15).
Midland defeated Frisco 3-1 in best-of-5 first-round series.
Midland third baseman Alex Valdez went 8-for-18 with 7 RBIs and outfielder Jermaine Mitchell was 4-for-10 with five runs scored as the Rockhounds eliminated the RoughRiders. Martin Perez picked up Frisco's only win with six strong innings–he allowed two hits, one run and one walk while striking out seven.
Northwest Arkansas and Springfield tied 2-2. Deciding game tonight.
Eric Hosmer has tried to nearly single-handedly carry the Naturals to the Texas League championship series. The first baseman has homered in all four games of the sereis, including two on Sunday to force a deciding Game 5. Hosmer's performance was notable enough that Cardinals general manager Jeff Luhnow was compelled to Tweet: "Hosmer is ridicuously good." Lefthander Mike Montgomery will take the mound for the Naturals in the series deciding game.
Modesto swept Stockton 2-0 in best-of-3 first-round series.
Righthander Rob Scahill's complete-game five-hitter was the story of the series as the Nuts swept the Ports. Scahill, an eighth-round pick of the Rockies in 2009, struck out 11.
Rancho Cucamonga swept High Desert 2-0 in best-of-3 first-round series.
Center fielder Mike Trout went 4-for-10 with a home run and a double as the Quakes swept the Mavericks.
Rancho Cucamonga and Lake Elsinore tied 1-1 in best-of-5 second-round series.
The Storm rode Chris Young's rehab appearance to a series-opening win. Young worked 5 2/3 scoreless innings before handing it over to reliever Anthony Bass who finished out the shutout. But Trout helped even up the series by going 3-for-5 with a triple on Sunday.
San Jose leads Modesto 2-0 in best-of-5 second-round series.
Francisco Peguero is 5-for-10 with two doubles and four runs scored as San Jose is one win away from advancing to the championship series.
Winston-Salem swept Kinston 3-0 in best-of-5 first-round series.
Dylan Axelrod threw seven scoreless innings to pick up one win while fellow starters Terry Doyle and Nathan Jones also pitched well in the Warthogs' easy series win over Kinston.
Potomac defeated Frederick 3-1 in best-of-5 first-round series.
Catcher Derek Norris went 4-for-12 with a home run, three RBIs and six runs scored for the Nationals. Outfielder Chris Curran was 7-for-12 (.538) with a double and triple to help Potomac.
Winston-Salem will face Potomac in championship series beginning on Monday, Sept. 13.
Florida State League
Tampa swept Dunedin 2-0 in best-of-3 first-round series.
The Yankees' run of pitching domination of the Blue Jays stretched to two levels. While the Double-A Trenton club was holding New Hampshire (the Blue Jays' Double-A affiliate) to one run in three games, Tampa held Dunedin to zero runs in two games. There was no true pitching star for Tampa as eight different pitchers combined to shut down the Blue Jays.
Charlotte defeated Bradenton 2-1 in best-of-3 first-round series.
Aaron Pribanic outduled Matt Moore in the series opener, but Charlotte rallied to win the final two games of the series behind the pitching of Joe Cruz (6.2 IP, 2 R, 7 Ks) and Frank de los Santos (
Tampa leads Charlotte 2-1 in best-of-5 championship series.
Tampa took the first two games of the series, but Charlotte held off elimination on Sunday thanks in part to Matt Moore's excellent outing. Moore struck out 10 while allowing one run in six innings. Moore has now reached double digits in strikeouts in six of his last seven starts.
Clinton defeated Cedar Rapids 2-1 in best-of-3 first-round series
Clinton came back from losing Game One at home to outscore Cedar Rapids 14-4 over the next two games and take the series. Righthander Erasmo Ramirez, a 20-year-old Nicaraguan who went 10-4, 2.97 during the regular season, struck out eight over seven innings in the clincher.
Kane County defeated Quad Cities 2-1 in best of-3 first-round series
Shelby Miller shut down Kane County in Game One, striking out 13 over seven shutout innings, but his cohorts in the River Bandits' rotation couldn't do the same and the Cougars came back to win the series. Quad Cities actually led Game Three 3-0 after five innings, but Kane County pounded out 15 runs over the game's final four frames to win 15-7.
Great Lakes defeated Fort Wayne 2-1 in best-of-3 first-round series
Great Lakes amassed the best record in any full-season minor league at 90-49, but they were pushed to the limit by Fort Wayne. Loons righthander Allen Webster pitched well in a losing effort in Game One, allowing just two hits and striking out seven over five innings, but his six walks were his undoing. His teammates didn't give him much help that night, as the Loons lost 1-0, but they picked up the slack over the next two games, winning by scores of 10-5 and 6-4.
Lake County defeated West Michigan 2-1 in best-of-3 first-round series
Shoulder surgery made this a bit of a lost season for Lake County righthander Jason Knapp, but he's ending it on a high note. Knapp, who pitched just 28 1/3 innings during the regular season, threw five shutout innings to pick up the win in the decisive Game Three of the Captains' first round series against West Michigan. Knapp struck out six and allowed just two hits.
Great Lakes leads Lake County 1-0 in best of-3 second-round series
Brian Cavaszos-Galvez came just a double away from the cycle in going 4-for-5 with five RBIs in the Loons' 10-8 victory in Game One of the MWL semifinals. Game Two is tonight in Great Lakes.
Clinton and Kane County tied 1-1 in best-of-3 second-round series.
Kane County righthander Dan Straily tossed seven shutout innings in Game One, fanning 11 and giving up just three hits, to beat Clinton 4-0. But Clinton came back to win Game Two 6-2 behind four hits from third baseman Mario Martinez. The decisive Game Three is tonight in Clinton.
South Atlantic League
Greenville swept Savannah 2-0 in best-of-3 series
The Red Sox probably didn't have the Sally League playoffs in mind when they traded Manny Delcarmen to the Rockies for righthander Chris Balcom-Miller, but the move has paid dividends for Greenville. Balcom-Miller fanned six over five innings to pick up the win in Game Two as the Drive finished off a sweep of Savannah.
Lakewood defeated Hickory 2-1 in best-of-3 series
The Game Two duel between Hickory lefty Robbie Erlin and Lakewood righty Brody Colvin highlighted this series. The two posted similar lines, with Erlin's at 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO and Colvin's at 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 SO, and neither figured in the decision, with Hickory winning 2-1 in 10 innings. The BlueClaws bounced back to take Game Three, 6-0, behind seven dominant innings from righthander Jon Pettibone, who struck out nine and gave up just one hit and one walk.
The best-of-5 championship series between Greenville and Lakewood begins Tuesday night.
Everett won its first championship since becoming the AquaSox and the first for the franchise since 1985, winning a best-of-three series against Spokane two games to one. League all-star Anthony Fernandez, a 19-year-old Dominican lefthander, won his second game of the playoffs with seven scoreless innings in the clincher for the AquaSox. He allowed four hits and three walks while striking out three, and didn't allow an earned run in his last 25 innings of work, including 13 in the playoffs. Former Notre Dame quarterback Evan Sharpley homered in Game Three to give the AquaSox the lead, after having driven in three of Everett's four runs in a Game Two victory. Spokane hit just .212 in five playoff games, scoring 19 runs.
New York-Penn League
Tri-City (Astros) and Brooklyn (Mets) are meeting in the league finals. The Cyclones, who went 30-8 at home during the regular season, dropped Game One 5-2 to the Valley Cats in a road game. That's the largest margin of victory in the NY-P playoffs so far. Outfielder Cory Vaughn, who hit 14 homers in the regular season to rank second in the league, hit a home run for the Cyclones' two tallies. Righthander David Martinez, 23, got the win for Tri-City, lasting five innings. Game Two, which was rained out Sunday, and Game Three (if necessary) are scheduled for Brooklyn.
The finalists won best-of-three series that went three games. Tri-City played three one-run games with Batavia, winning the finale 1-0 behind seven shutout innings from Jake Buchanan, an eighth-round pick in 2010. Brooklyn dropped its opener to Jamestown but rallied to win the last two games 9-8 and 6-4.
League champion: Johnson City (Cardinals)
Johnson City defeated Elizabethton 2-0 in best-of-3 championship series
Johnson City excelled at all facets in their four-game sweep through the playoffs, which ended with their first Appy League championship since 1976. As a team, Johnson City hit .342 with eight home runs in four playoff games. The Cardinals' pitching staff put up a 2.00 ERA and a 37-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In the finals, they handled a strong Elizabethton team with ease, winning by 7-2 and 6-2 counts. Outfielder Virgil Hill homered in both games in the finals, going 3-for-8 with four RBIs.
Elizabethton defeated Pulaski 2-0 in best-of-3 first-round series
Strong starts by Manuel Soliman (6 2/3 innings, four runs) and B.J. Hermsen (7 innings, one run) positioned the Twins to make late-inning rallies in both games. Elizabethton used a three-run eighth inning to win Game One by a 7-4 score and then a five-run 10th to win Game Two by a 6-3 score.
Johnson City defeated Burlington 2-0 in best-of-3 first-round series
Burlington backed into the playoffs as a 34-34 wild card entrant and proved to be no match for the Appy League's winningest and highest scoring team. Johnson City won the two games by scores of 8-4 and 20-2, knocking out the Royals' starting pitchers, respectively, after 2/3 and 1 1/3 innings.
Helena defeated Great Falls 2-1 in best-of-3 first-round series
Great Falls boasted the best regular-season record and perhaps the most talented pitching staff in the league (4.02 ERA to rank second), but Helena prevailed in Games One and Three by scores of 5-3 and 9-5 to win the hard-fought series. The Brewers pitching staff posted a 4.15 ERA and a 29-to-8 strikeout to walk ratio in the three games. Righthanders Tyler Cravy (6 innings, four runs, seven strikeouts) and Matt Miller (6 innings, three runs) led the way.
Ogden defeated Orem 2-1 in best-of-3 first-round series
The high-scoring Raptors rallied for a 12-9 victory in Game Three to advance to the Pioneer League finals for the first time since 1996. Ogden trailed by seven runs before they even came to bat for the first time, but they battled back to tie the game at seven in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Raptors won the series opener 2-1 against the defending-champion Owlz and then dropped a wild Game Two by a score of 17-10. Raptors center fielder Leon Landry, a third-round pick in June, went 6-for-14 (.429) in the series with a pair of doubles and five RBIs
League Finals: Ogden (Dodgers) vs. Helena (Brewers) begins Tuesday, Sept. 14
Gulf Coast League
The Phillies won the GCL championship series, a best-of-three affair, beating the Rays in the final two games to win the championship. Indy ball veteran Tim Brown, a righthander signed out Lincoln in the American Association, tossed 7 2/3 innings and struck out nine to get the win in the clincher, giving up just two hits. Older players led the way for the Phils' lineup, including 2010 college draftees Chris Duffy (5-for-15 in the postseason) and Brian Gump (6-for-16, team-high six RBIs). Rays prospect Luke Bailey and Mets outfielder Yucarybert de la Cruz hit the only home runs in the GCL's postseason.
The Brewers, Reds, Giants and Rangers made the AZL playoffs, three one-game "series," and the Brewers beat the Rangers and then the Reds to win the championship. Second baseman Nick Shaw went 6-for-8 in the two games to pace the Brewers' offense, scorign five of the team's 16 runs. Rangers righthander Carlos Melo provided the top performance of the AZL playoffs with a 13-strikeout, six-inning effort against the Brewers, who rallied against reliever Anthony Haase.