Bulls fall in International League finals

September 13th, 2019

Here’s a look at the top performances of the past week by Rays prospects in the Minor Leagues:

Thursday, Sept. 12: Bulls fall to Clippers in finals
Triple-A Durham’s season came to a close Thursday night as the Bulls lost 6-2 to Columbus and were swept in the Governors’ Cup Finals.

Kevin Padlo gave Durham an early 1-0 lead via an RBI single in the third and a rehabbing Blake Snell got things off to a fast start on the mound with two perfect innings, but the Clippers were ultimately too much to handle. Aaron Slegers took over for Snell and after spinning a trio of scoreless innings, Sleggers gave up three runs in both the sixth and seventh innings.

The disappointing finish caps a season in which the Bulls finished 75-64 and snuck into the playoffs as a Wild Card. Thursday's prospect stats »

Wednesday, Sept. 11: Durham falls back 0-2
No. 18 prospect Jake Cronenworth went 3-for-5 with three singles and an RBI on Wednesday against Columbus, but it wasn’t enough as Durham fell, 7-4, in Game 2 of its Triple-A International League championship series. The loss puts Durham in an 0-2 hole in the best-of-five series after dropping the opener on Tuesday.

Cronenworth’s strong night in the leadoff spot set the table, but Durham couldn’t find the big inning that it needed after Columbus opened the game with a four-run first. Left fielder Jason Coats put Durham on the board in the sixth with a solo shot, his third home run of the postseason. The series now returns to Durham beginning on Thursday, but the Bulls will need to string together three consecutive wins to claim the International League title.

Tuesday, Sept. 10: Durham drops Game 1
Durham dropped Game 1 of the Governors’ Cup finals, 8-3, to Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday. Rays No. 18 prospect Jake Cronenworth, a seventh-round pick from the 2015 Draft who hit .334 over 88 games in the regular season, picked up a pair of hits and finished 2-for-5, but the Bulls’ offense wasn’t able to match the Clippers’ firepower.

While it’s never ideal to lose Game 1 of a best-of-five series, the Bulls will look to rebound in Game 2 on Wednesday and will host Games 3, 4 and 5. Tuesday's prospect stats »

Saturday, Sept. 7: Bulls advance to International League finals
The Durham Bulls earned a spot in the Governors’ Cup finals with a 17-2 victory against Yankees affiliate Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Saturday night. A four-run first inning highlighted by a Rocky Gale two-run double would set the tone as the Bulls piled up 13 hits and 10 walks in the contest, scoring 11 runs by the end of the fifth to build a nearly insurmountable lead. Aaron Slegers took to the mound in place of rehabbing Major Leaguer Blake Snell in the first inning and spun a gem, tossing 6 1/3 innings of shutout baseball with three hits and no walks, striking out eight.

The Bulls advance to the championship series for the third straight season, having won the past two -- with both victories coming against the RailRiders, whom they met a round earlier this season. They’ll look to claim their seventh title as they take on the Columbus Clippers, Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians.

The Double-A Montgomery Biscuits were eliminated from the Southern League playoffs on Saturday with a 6-5 loss to Jackson, who took the best-of-five series three games to one. Rays’ No. 20 prospect Lucius Fox went 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles and the Biscuits got home runs from Brett Sullivan and Miles Mastrobuoni, but fell just short in the bottom of the ninth inning as they managed only one run despite loading the bases with nobody out. Saturday's prospect stats »

Friday, Sept. 6: Bulls move ahead 2-0 in semifinals
A four-run second inning was enough for Triple-A Durham to beat Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and take a commanding 2-0 series lead in the International League semifinals. A pair of two-run homers in that frame from center fielder Nathan Lukes and shortstop Jake Cronenworth (Rays’ No. 18 prospect, a two-way player who also pitches) gave left-hander Josh Fleming more than enough support. Fleming tossed eight scoreless innings, allowing five hits, walking one and striking out five. Friday's prospect stats »