The Durham Bulls, the Rays’ Triple-A affiliate, defeated host Louisville (Reds), 3-0, in Game 1 of the International League playoffs on Wednesday night. Top prospect David Price tossed five shutout innings in the win with six strikeouts. Elliot Johnson, Dan Johnson and Chris Richard each homered.
But the Bulls couldn’t replicate the magic on Thursday, as Louisville handed Durham a resounding 19-3 defeat to even the best-of-five series. The Bulls trailed 17-0 after four innings and 19-0 after seven. Starter Mitch Talbot lasted a mere two innings, allowing seven runs off nine hits. But the brunt of Louisville’s offense was felt by reliever Chris Mason, who was tagged for 10 runs off nine hits in just 1 2/3 innings.
The series will shift to Durham on Friday for the final three games.
Double-A Montgomery and Single-A Vero Beach both finished their seasons on Thursday night. Montgomery fell 7-6 to the Suns with catcher Matt Spring leading the offense in a 2-for-5 plate appearance with a home run and two RBI. Vero finished fifth in the Florida State League with a 54-81 record. RHP Heath Rollins ended the year with a 3.30 ERA and 115 strikeouts, fifth-most in the League.
— Brittany Ghiroli
By signing second pick (No. 47 overall) LHP Kyle Lobstein on Friday afternoon, the Rays have inked 26 of their 28 selections in this year’s First-Year Player Draft. Only Brandon Meredith and Ryan Carpenter, the 15th- and 21st-round selections, did not sign. According to the Tampa Tribune’s Marc Lancaster, Lobstein will not pitch in a Minor League game this season, but is expected to report to rookie-level Princeton on Sunday.
Tidbits from the Farm..
— While much of the attention centered on top prospect David Price’s debut in Triple-A last week, RHP Heath Rollins quietly put together a solid performance of his own. The 23-year-old Rollins — who was promoted to Double-A to assume Price’s vacated spot — did not disappoint in his debut on Wednesday night. Rollins struck out nine batters and issued zero walks in seven innings of one-run ball. He gave up four hit totals, with his lone blemish a solo home run. Rollins retired the final 8 batters he faced.
. –Per the Montgomery Advertiser, James Houser has been activated for the Double-A Biscuits. The left-handed pitcher made his first start in a month on Friday night and was limited to 1 1/3 innings, walking three and giving up one hit and a run.
— Triple-A Durham’s Dan Johnson was 2-for-5 on Friday night and now leads the International League with a .969 OPS and .422 OBP.
— RHP Mitch Talbot tossed seven innings of shutout baseball on Thursday night to record his 26th win for Durham. In doing so, Talbot becomes the team’s second winningest pitcher.
— Brittany Ghiroli