DURHAM — The Durham Bulls held off a late rally by Indianapolis to take a 2-0 lead in the first round of the Governors Cup Playoffs.
After building a 5-0 lead, the Bulls held on for a 6-5 win Thursday night at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Closer Kirby Yates was credited with the save after entering the game in the ninth inning and striking out three of four batters. The Bulls need to win just one of the remaining three games in Indianapolis to take the best-of-five series.
That would have given them a whole lot of momentum with the win, Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo said.
The Bulls were seeking their second straight playoff shutout after Wednesdays 2-0 win their first since Sept. 3, 2008 but Indians right fielder Jerry Sands scratched that idea with a two-run homer in the top of the seventh.
An Indianapolis error in the bottom of the inning helped the Bulls add to their lead.
Kevin Kiermaier was called safe at first after first baseman Matt Hague dropped the ball. Craig Albernazs sacrifice advanced him to second. After Tim Beckham struck out, Cole Figueroa sent him home on an RBI single for a 6-2 lead. That turned out to be the winning run.
Pitcher Steve Geltz relieved starter J.D. Martin at the top of the ninth but gave up Jerry Sands three-run home run that pulled the Indians to 6-5. Yates relieved Geltz and closed out the win.
Martin lived up to his International League pitcher of the year billing by allowing two runs on eight hits, no walks and three shutouts for his sixth straight decision. His 17th win set a Bulls Triple-A season record.
JD was awesome again tonight, Montoyo said. Hes just had a great year.
Thursdays box score
|De Jesus ph||0||0||0||0|
|Godfrey (L, 0-1)||0||4||4||4||0||0|
|Martin (W, 1-0)||8||8||2||2||0||3|
|Yates (S, 2)||1||0||0||0||1||3|
Godfrey pitched to 4 batters in the 1st.
Geltz pitched to 3 batters in the 9th.
WP-McDonald, Martin, Geltz.