Scranton Wilkes/Barre RF Shelly Duncan belted a two-run, walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to lead the Yankees to a 2-0 win over the Pawtucket Red Sox and advance them to the Governor’s Cup Finals. Scranton won the best-of-five series over the PawSox 3 games to 1.
Duncan’s blast came on a 1-0 pitch right over the heart of the plate thrown by PawSox right hander Edgar Martinez, who had just entered the game in relief of lefty Hunter Jones. Jones (0-1) took the loss as 2B Bernie Castro led off the inning with a double to left and scored ahead of Duncan.
It was a tough way to end the season for Pawtucket as the team never really was able to get its league leading offense going against a stellar Yankees pitching staff. The PawSox were able to score a total of only 8 runs in the four game series.
This game was a pitcher’s duel from the get-go as both PawSox starter Bartolo Colon and Yankees starter Phillip Hughes showed the crowd at PNC Field why they are Major League-caliber pitchers. Colon had his best outing of the season, hurling 7 2/3 scoreless innings giving up only two hits. He struck out three and walked no one. Hughes matched Colon inning for inning, working eight scoreless frames giving up four hits while striking out 11 and also walking no one. Both these right handers should find themselves back with their Major League clubs before the end of the season.
The PawSox saw their best chance to score a run come in the top of the ninth when they had two men on with one out. But Yankees reliever Scott Strickland struck out Chris Carter and forced George Kottaras to ground out to third to end the threat.
Strickland (1-0) also worked a scoreless tenth to earn the win.
The most successful regular season in PawSox history did not carry itself into the playoffs. But Manager Ron Johnson and his club should take satisfaction in that they were able to successfully develop talent for Boston while still put together an entertaining product for the fans at McCoy.