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Bulls clinch seventh title in eight years

Durham claims International League South Division with 4-2 win
August 26, 2014

It took fewer than 25 seconds for Durham to pop champagne after Monday's win. Of course, the Bulls have had a lot of practice at it.

The Rays' Triple-A affiliate clinched its seventh International League South Division title in eight years with a 4-2 win over Gwinnett.

Durham wrapped up the victory on a soft line drive to shortstop Hak-Ju Lee for the final out. Immediately, the team sprinted into the dugout. Seconds later, they emerged, champagne bottles in hand.

"It feels so awesome," infielder Ray Olmedo told the Herald-Sun after the game.

The Bulls have scored a division title in all but one of manager Charlie Montoyo's eight seasons at the helm and won the Governors' Cup in 2009 and 2013.

Earlier this season, Montoyo became Durham's all-time wins leader, surpassing Bill Evers with his 614th victory. After that win, Montoyo credited the team's success to the organization for keeping the Triple-A team stocked with talent while still sporting a strong club in the Majors.

"That's tough to do, if you think about it," Montoyo said. "They have to take everybody they need, and at the same time, we're finding ways to win down here. That's just been awesome. From [Evan] Longoria to [David] Price, all those guys come to play here in Durham and they know how to win. I believe that's one of the big reasons we've done so well at the big leagues."

Matt Andriese got the start for Durham on Monday. The right-hander limited the Braves to two runs -- one earned -- over 5 2/3 innings, dropping his ERA to 3.68 over a team-best 156 1/3 innings this season.

Offensively, the team got three hits apiece from designated hitter Mike Fontenot and third baseman Cole Figueroa. Fontenot added a double and scored twice, and both he and Figueroa recorded an RBI.

After Gwinnett tied the game, 2-2, in the top of the sixth, Durham broke the knot when Fontenot scored on a ground-ball double play by outfielder Mikie Mahtook.

Mahtook -- the Rays' No. 11 prospect -- extended the lead to two runs with an RBI single in the eighth. The 2011 first-round pick (31st overall) has been among Durham's top offensive contributors this season, hitting .291 with 32 doubles and 63 RBIs.

The Bulls are the only International League team to have clinched a division title as of Monday night.

Jake Seiner is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter at @Jake_Seiner.