MOOSIC, PA (September 7, 2019) - The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders lost 17-2 to the Durham Bulls on Saturday evening, bringing their 2019 campaign to a close. The Bulls scored four times in the first to set the tone in Game Three of the first round of the Governor's Cup playoffs and finish a series sweep in front of 4,473 at PNC Field.
RailRiders starter Nick Nelson walked a pair of batters in the first and threw a wild pitch to advance Jake Cronenworth and Jason Coats into scoring position. A groundout staked Durham to a 1-0 edge, but after a walk with two down, Dalton Kelly delivered a run-scoring single and Rocky Gale doubled in a pair to give the Bulls the early 4-0 advantage.
In the bottom of the first, Blake Snell, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, made a rehab start for Durham. The southpaw walked Breyvic Valera and allowed a single to Thairo Estrada, who joined Scranton/Wilkes-Barre earlier in the day on an Allied Integrated Health Systems Rehab Assignment. With one out, Erik Kratz singled in Valera to cut the deficit to three. Snell walked Mandy Alvarez to load the bases but struck out Gosuke Katoh to close his outing. Aaron Slegers entered and struck out Zehner to close the threat in the first.
In the third, Durham plated a pair on singles by Gale and Nathan Lukes off reliever Joe Mantiply. The Bulls added a three-spot against Deivi Garcia in the fourth with a pair of walks and home run by Coats. Durham tallied two more in the fifth with two runs on a pair of walks and a Lukes double for an 11-1 lead.
Slegers retired ten straight between the end of the first and the fifth. The RailRiders plated their final run in the eighth on a groundout by Kratz off the Bulls bullpen. The Bulls scored six times against Brody Koerner in the ninth, including a three-run home run to right by Dalton Kelly to close the scoring at 17-2.
Nelson (0-1) took the loss after allowing the four first inning runs. Slegers (1-0) notched the win with 6.1 innings of relief behind Snell, striking out eight and walking none.
A Durham series win ends Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's season for the third straight year. The Bulls beat the RailRiders in each of the last two seasons for the Governor's Cup title. Durham will advance to the championship round and take on either Columbus or Gwinnett starting Tuesday, September 10.
The 2020 season will open at PNC Field on April 9 against the Buffalo Bisons. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre will host the 2020 All-Star Game on July 15 along with several great events slated to be announced this month. Tickets and information for the 2020 season, the All-Star Game and all the festivities in July are available online at swbrailriders.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.