“For the fourth time in this young century the Durham Bulls have won the Governors’ Cup, the International League Championship. A 7-0 victory over Pawtucket Saturday night clinched a second Cup for Bulls’ Manager Charlie Montoyo. (His first one came in 2009.)
“This is remarkable to me when you think back to the 2012 season. The team went 66-78, and it included a brutal, historic losing streak. The Tampa Bay Rays told us it could be two years before the Bulls were competitive as top prospects moved up through the farm system. Under promise. Over deliver.
“What a turnaround! Finishing at .604 …and at one point we had the best record in all of professional baseball, majors and minors.
– CS’ George Habel in his ‘Note to Self’ Blog
With a 7-0 shutout victory over the Pawtucket Red Sox Saturday night, the Durham Bulls claimed the fourth International League Championship in the team’s remarkable history. The Governors’ Cup returns to the Bull City after a three season hiatus, and will join the 2002, 2003, and 2009 titles on the Bulls’ illustrious Triple-A Championship ledger.
After a 14-inning marathon in Game Three, where it took over five hours for the Bulls to break a scoreless stalemate, Durham wasted no time in getting on the board in Game Four. Tim Beckham drew a 2-out walk off of knuckleballer Charlie Haeger in the top of the first and was followed by a base hit by Vince Belnome. Jason Bourgeois then singled home Beckham to give the Bulls a lead they would never relinquish.
The Bulls offense, anemic for most of the 2013 postseason, got another lift in the second when Kevin Kiermaier blasted his second career Triple-A homer. His two-run shot was followed in the third by an RBI double off the bat of Shelley Duncan, who plated Brandon Guyer after the Bulls right fielder tripled. All four of Durham’s early runs came with two outs, a stark reversal of fortunes from Friday night where the Bulls stranded 16 runners.
While the offense awakened, the game belonged to Bulls starter Merrill Kelly (W, 2-0). Kelly was simply dominant Saturday night, tossing six scoreless innings and allowing only two hits while striking out seven PawSox. With the win, he laid claim to the decision in both series-clinching victories this postseason.
Durham would go on to break the game open in the sixth, scoring three more runs in the frame, including another RBI for Kiermaier who went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and three driven in on the night.
The newly crowned International League Champions will now travel to Allentown, PA to await the winner of the Pacific Coast League title. The two Champions will square off in the one-game, winner-take-all Gildan Triple-A National Championship Game on Tuesday, September 17. The game will be televised nationally on NBC Sports Network.
Thanks to WRAL.com for this capcom story & to the Durham Bulls for this capcom graphic.