MOOSIC, Pennsylvania — It hasnt always gone as planned for Chih-Wei Hu this season, but when he remained on the Triple-A Durham roster for September, he was intent on making something good of it.
The right-hander certainly did that with Thursday nights stellar start as the Bulls blanked the RailRiders, 3-0, in Game 3 of the Governors Cup Finals at PNC Field. Hu scattered six hits and struck out six without issuing any walks over seven innings to earn the win.
“They put me in Triple-A, and Ill help the team because the playoffs are important to us,” Hu said. “We have a chance of [capturing] another [title].”
Durham holds a 2-1 lead in the best-of-5 series. A victory in Game 4 on Friday night would give the Bulls their sixth Governors Cup overall and second straight.
Hu is one of the holdovers from Durhams team from a year ago. But his role has changed since 2017, when he transitioned to the bullpen. Back in the rotation for the bulk of this season, he struggled to gain traction. He went 5-7 with a 4.66 ERA over 24 games — 19 starts — for the Bulls, and he worked out of the Tampa Bay bullpen in the Majors three times — twice in July.
“Maybe coming back to a starter again, I [found] my routine,” Hu said. “I feel [that] after July, I found something to keep me comfortable.”
Bulls manager Jared Sandberg saw the outing as another example of what Hu can do when his delivery is under control and everything else falls into place.
“You talk about trying to finish the season strong,” the skipper said. “It doesnt matter how you start. Its how you finish. … Thats two great starts from him in the playoffs. He had everything working.”
Video: 24 in 24 – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Hu has allowed two runs over 12 International League postseason innings, earning the win in each of his starts. Catcher Mac James was also behind the plate last week when Hu beat Toledo in the semifinals.
“They were both really good,” James said. “He was right on. He had his fastball going and when hes ahead, hes pretty good. … I think he was just aggressive. He started going after hitters.”
In the sixth inning, the RailRiders put runners on the corners after one-out singles by Mark Payton and Bruce Caldwell. Hu escaped the jam by getting Gio Urshela to bounce into a double play. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre threatened again the next inning, but Mike Ford was cut down at the plate trying to score from first base on Shane Robinsons two-out double into the left-field corner. Shortstop Jake Cronenworth made a strong relay throw to James to end the inning.
“I needed to get it there, and I got a good feed from [left fielder Joe McCarthy] on that play,” Cronenworth said.MiLB include
“I had an unbelievable defense behind me,” the 24-year-old native of Taiwan said. “When he hit it, I thought there was a run. And then there was [an] out at home. It was unbelievable.”
The Bulls did their scoring in the early innings, putting up two runs in the second on Brandon Snyders solo homer and Cronenworths two-out double.
Concerns related to Hurricane Florence in North Carolina kept the series in Pennsylvania after Scranton/Wilkes-Barre hosted the first two games, with Durham playing as the home team through the rest of the series. Fridays Game 4 is set for 6:35 p.m. ET
Bob Sutton is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
Share Share Rays prospects and minor leagues: Hu, Bulls take series lead tweet share Reddit Pocket Flipboard Email Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports While Durham took a 2-1 series lead in the International League, Memphis is tied with Fresno at one game apiece in the Pacific Coast League. Justin Williams could get a crack at his old club in the Triple-A National Championship if the Redbirds are able to win that series.
Behind Chih-Wei Hus best outing of the season, Durham topped Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 3-0, and took a 2-1 series lead. Over seven scoreless innings, Hu gave up just six singles, struck out six, and didnt walk anyone. The Bulls also benefited from some early offense. Kean Wong singled and scored on Austin Meadows groundout in the first. Brandon Snyder led off the second with a homer, and Jake Cronenworth doubled in a run later in the inning.
CF Austin Meadows: 0-for-3, 1 RBI, 1 BBLF Joe McCarthy; 1-for-4, 1 2B, 2 K1B Nate Lowe: 0-for-3, 1 BBSS Jake Cronenworth: 1-for-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Bowling Green fell to Peoria, 2-1, losing a game for the first time this postseason. For 6 1⁄2 innings, neither team could get on the scoreboard, but the Chiefs finally broke through in the bottom of the seventh. Tommy Romero began the inning, but three straight singles, including one that got Peoria on the board, knocked him out of the game. He struck out six and was charged with two runs in six-plus innings. The Hot Rods then loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the eighth, but they could only get one run on Vidal Brujans sacrifice fly.
2B Vidal Brujan: 0-for-3, 1 RBI, 2 KSS Taylor Walls: 1-for-2, 2 BBC Ronaldo Hernandez: 1-for-4, 1 2B, 1 K
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Yankees)4-3Offense: 578 R (7th) .729 OPS (3rd)Pitching: 3.71 ERA (5th) 1.26 WHIP (4th)Top-30 prospects: LHP Justus Sheffield (3), RHP Chance Adams (5), SS Thairo Estrada (8), RHP Domingo German (16)
Pitcher Jose Lopez and infielders Kaleo Johnson and Russ Olive represented the GCL Rays on the postseason Gulf Coast League All-Star team.
Second baseman Vidal Brujan, catcher Ronaldo Hernandez, and pitcher Colin Poche all made the cut for Jeff Passans minor league team of the year.