AAA Playoff Dish: Scranton Wins First IL Title


Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 20, Durham 2 (Scranton/Wilkes-Barre wins series, 3-1)

DURHAM–With Yankees righthander Phil Hughes facing Bulls righthander Wade Davis in Game 4, most observers expected a pitchers’ duel. As it turned out, Davis didn’t make it out of the third inning. He gave up five runs in the second and then loaded the bases without getting an out in the third before being pulled. Davis didn’t get a lot of help from his defense, but he struggled to find the strike zone and got hit hard. He ended his season with a line of eight runs on four hits over two innings, with three strikeouts and six walks.

Hughes was also a little shaky in the first, but quickly settled down and blew through the Bulls’ lineup after that. Through five innings, Hughes gave up one run on four hits, with four walks and 12 strikeouts. His fastball sat 91-93 mph and his 73-76 mph curveball was untouchable, featuring tight rotation and depth. He did an excellent job locating his fastball low and to both corners, appearing at times to both cut and tail (two-seam) the pitch at similar velocities, and when he missed with his curve he missed low. Hughes broke out a mid-80s slider and a changeup later in the outing, but he appeared to only be doing the batters a favor by throwing them.

The Yankees combined for 18 hits, with each batter collecting at least one. First baseman Juan Miranda went 3-for-5 with a home run and six RBIs and shortstop Chris Basak went 4-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs. The win gives Scranton/Wilkes-Barre its first-ever Governor’s Cup championship (they joined the IL in 1989 as a Phillies farm club), and the team will face the winner of the PCL final in the Bricktown Showdown on Tuesday. The game will air on ESPN2.


Sacramento 8, Oklahoma 5 (Sacramento leads best-of-5 series, 2-1)

Sacramento’s bats came through again. Led by DH Wes Bankston, who went 2-for-5 with a first-inning three-run homer, the River Cats went ahead early and never trailed. Red-hot right fielder Chris Denorfia went 3-for-5 as the team’s leadoff hitter and three other players—left fielder Travis Buck, center fielder Carlos Gonzalez and first baseman Casey Rogowski—collected two hits apiece. There were 25 total hits in the game—14 from Sacramento and 11 from Oklahoma. Despite the loss, catcher Max Ramirez had a great game for the RedHawks, going 3-for-4 with a double and a home run.