BY MICHAEL HAMMOND | Minor League Knocks
Aug. 12, 2017 | Durham Bulls 6, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders 3 | International League (AAA)
DURHAM, N.C. – On the night Durham celebrated their 10 millionth fan, the Bulls sent went out with a bang both on and off the field.
Trailing 3-1 in the seventh, Taylor Featherston hit a grand slam to give Durham its first lead of the game en route to a 6-3 victory over the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on Saturday at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, North Carolina, with fans being treated to a fireworks show after the game.
The battle of International League division leaders started off as a pitching duel with each pitcher allowing one batter over the minimum in the first four innings. SWB DH kicked off the scoring with a solo home run that hooked around the right field pole in the fifth inning.
Donovan Solano hit a solo shot of his own the next inning that was followed by a Jake Cave single to knock Durham starter, Michael Roth, out of the game. Cave scored the RailRiders’ third run on a Billy McKinney single and Roth finished with a 5.1 inning, four hit, three run, one walk, eight strikeout line on the night.
Roth’s counterpart on the mound, Brady Lail put in a more effective outing. Lail gave up one run on four hits and four strikeouts while leaving the game with a 3-1 lead after six innings.
SWB relief pitcher Tyler Jones entered in the seventh and things turned south for the RailRiders. Jones allowed back-to-back singles and a walk with no outs before Featherston hit his game winning slam. Patrick Leonard hit a home run off the iconic “Hit Bull Win Steak” bull in the eighth off Lail for good measure in the eight.
Diego Castillo came in and struck out two batters and earned his fourth save in a perfect ninth inning.
With 22 games left in the triple-A season, both SWB and Durham look set to make the International League playoffs. The RailRiders lead the North Division by 7.5 games over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, and Durham has a 14.5 game lead in the South Division over the Gwinnett Braves.
Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders (76-43) 000 012 000 – 3 7 0
Durham Bulls (73-46) 000 010 41X – 6 9 0
8/10 Durham 1, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 0
8/11 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 6, Durham 2
8/12 Durham 6, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 3
8/13 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at Durham
Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (NYY)
#16 Tyler Austin 0/4, 2 K .288/.354/.538, 6 HR, 26 RBI
Durham Bulls (TB)
#1 Willy Adames 1/4 .267/.362/.401, 7 HR, 46 RBI
Durham Bulls Athletic Park, built in 1995, became the home to the Durham Bulls after they moved out of Durham Athletic Park which was seen in the movie “Bull Durham.” Located in downtown Durham, DBAP has a 32-foot “blue monster” 303-foot away from home plate in left that features the video board built into the wall and like Fenway Park has a manual scoreboard. Overtop of the left field fence sits the iconic bull, just inside the left field foul pole.
On Saturday the Bulls reached 10 million in attendance since moving to triple-A in 1998. They celebrated with multiple giveaways including a ceremony after the game choosing the official 10 millionth fan. Following the game, the Durham sky was lit up by the Bulls’ weekly fireworks show.
Carolina Mudcats at Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Aug. 13.