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SWB Yankees advance to finals

September 13, 2009
On Friday night, the Gwinnett Braves downed the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees with a heavy-hitting, five-run third inning.

On Saturday night, the Yankees returned the favor with a five-run fourth en route to a 12-3 victory, advancing to the Governor's Cup finals for the second year in a row.

"Like I've said, in spring training, you just hope you get to the post-season," said Yankees manager Dave Miley. "We beat a real good Gwinnett Braves team. We were able to string some runs together. Guys really stepped up for us tonight and got to work."

The win came during a time when the Yankees found themselves missing some key players who had been called up to New York, and other Yankees took up the call - like Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's Doug Bernier - and were also called up, including Eduardo Nunez, newly acquired from Double-A Trenton.

"Everybody had a hand in (the win)," Miley said.

Bernier reached base in all five of his plate appearances, going 1-for-1 with a double and three walks. He was also hit by a pitch.

"We were all really excited before the game started," Bernier said.

The Yankees posted two runs in the third to start the scoring, but the fourth propelled them to victory.

Reegie Corona singled to start off the inning, and Doug Berrnier drew his first walk on the night. Chris Stewart loaded the bases on a well-placed bunt down the third-base line.

Kevin Russo was hit by a pitch to walk in a run, and Freddy Guzman grounded into a fielder's choice that also scored another Yankee. Austin Jackson reached on a walk. Juan Miranda cleared the bases with a two-RBI double to cap the scoring that inning.

"Any win is fun," Russo said. "Everyone knew we still have one more series to play. It's great to win, that's all that matters, especially in the playoffs."

The Yankees added two more in the sixth off a single from Stewart and another three in the eighth.

"It's good to know everything's working rolling into the next series," Stewart said.

Zach McAllister made his first Triple-A start Saturday, throwing 5.1 innings and allowing eight hits.

"The new guys are really doing a good job," said Anthony Claggett, who held Gwinnett to one hit over 2.2 innings.

"We're kind of like a family in the bullpen."

Miley said McAllister was good in his first start with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

"Not really, I didn't feel pressure," McAllister said. "It was just a matter of keeping us in the game. Run support is nice, but it's good to put up zeroes."

Jose Valdez, who pitched with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre earlier in the season, relieved Claggett and pitched a swift ninth, striking out one, walking one, and nabbing the next two batters on groundouts.

The Yankees will play the winner of Sunday's game between the Louisville Bats and the Durham Bulls, who were forced into playing a Game 5 after the Bats tied the playoff series at 2 with a 10-7 victory Saturday night.