A year after the Durham Bulls celebrated winning the Governors’ Cup on Pawtucket’s field, the Red Sox avenged the indignation with by hoisting the Cup and spraying champagne bottles on the infield of Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
The Boston Red Sox’s Triple-A affiliate won a second straight game to clinch the best-of-5 series with a 4-1 win before 3,261 fans Saturday night at Durham’s downtown ballpark.
The Bulls didn’t score until left-fielder Jeremy Moore’s one-out home run to right field in the ninth inning. They didn’t mount a rally until the seventh, but first baseman Wilson Betemit struck out looking after second baseman Nick Franklin singled to advance designated-hitter Vince Belnome to third.
Pawtucket catcher Ryan Lavarnway was named the MVP. He had six hits the last two games, including a home run for a 3-0 to advantage to lead off the fifth inning. The finish was sweet to a season interrupted by a broken hand in May less than a week after he was called up to Boston.
“The Boston medical staff did a great job of rehabbing me so I could get back,” Lavarnway said. “I also want to congratulate the Durham Bulls; they had a great season.”
Pawtucket, a wild-card entry as the North Division runner-up, won the Governors’ Cup that is representative of the International League championship for the second time in the last three years. The South Division champion Bulls chased their third Cup under eighth-year manager Charlie Montoyo to add to the ones they won in 2009 and 2013.
“We won it last year and got to the final game this year; not many teams can say that,” Montoyo said. “Everybody played, and we found a way to win with different guys.
“We were grinding out wins. We were winning games 3-2 and 4-2. The bullpen has been outstanding. We had a couple of games when our starters only went a couple of innings, and they had to pitch a lot of innings.”
But Game 5 was different. Pawtucket scored in the first inning and was up 3-0 after five behind Cuban defector Rusney Castillo and Lavarnway, while pitcher Keith Crouch shut out the Bulls on one hit through 6 2/3 innings. He was a Double-A Portland postseason promotion.
Castillo, a center fielder, signed a $72.5 million deal on Aug. 23 and was cleared Aug. 31 from his defection to play.
He gave the Red Sox a 2-0 lead in the third when he doubled and stole third while escaping a pickle. Ivan DeJesus, who won Friday’s game with a two-run homer in the 13th, brought home Castillo on a sacrifice fly.
Franklin, who slumped in August upon arriving in Durham in a three-way deal with Seattle that sent Tampa Bay’s David Price to Detroit, was 2 of 3 Saturday and batted .424 in the post-season (14 of 33).
Pawtucket advances to the Triple-A National Championship to face the winner of the Omaha-Reno Pacific Coast League series on Tuesday at Charlotte.