RailRiders topple Gwinnett to claim Governors' Cup

Yankees' Triple-A affiliate wins first championship since 2008

RailRiders topple Gwinnett to claim Governors' Cup

Based on record, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre was the best Triple-A team in 2016. Now, after shutting out Gwinnett in Game 4 of the International League Finals, they have the hardware to back it up.

The RailRiders fired on all cylinders Friday to blank Gwinnett, 3-0, and win their second Governors' Cup and first since 2008.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre received a strong effort from starter Daniel Camarena, who hurled 5 1/3 scoreless innings in his first postseason appearance. The 23-year-old southpaw scattered five hits, walked one and struck out four before departing the game after 87 pitches (60 strikes). The RailRiders' bullpen took over from there, as Johnny Barbato, Tyler Webb and Giovanny Gallegos combined to toss 3 2/3 hitless frames to secure the title.

With the victory, the RailRiders improved to 7-0 this season in games at the G-Braves' Coolray Field.

At the plate, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre produced two runs in the top of the fifth inning on of a pair of two-out singles by left fielder Mark Payton and right fielder Clint Frazier. Payton, who was promoted from Double-A Trenton after Game 1 of the Governors' Cup finals, also delivered a run-scoring triple in the contest to finish with a team-best three hits and two RBIs.

As for Frazier, he went 2-for-3 with a walk after beginning the postseason in a 4-for-25 skid. Acquired from the Indians as part of the Trade Deadline blockbuster for Andrew Miller, the Yankees' top prospect and No. 16 on the Top 100 batted .263/.335/.447 with 16 home runs, 27 doubles and 75 runs scored in 119 games between the Double- and Triple-A levels.

Yankees No. 23 prospect Jake Cave, meanwhile, continued a strong postseason for the RailRiders by going 1-for-3 with an RBI. The performance lifted his average to .348 through seven games, during which he has two doubles, one homer and four RBIs. He was named Governors' Cup Finals MVP for his efforts.

"[Hitting coach] Tom Wilson talked to Jake and told him to be more patient, and I'm glad he listened to him," Scranton/Wilkes-Barre manager Al Pedrique told MiLB.com. "He came through with great at-bats. It's a well-deserved honor for him. He's been working real hard on his mechanics and slowing the game down."

Noticeably absent from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's lineup this postseason has been many of the RailRiders' top regular-season hitters such as Aaron Judge, Tyler Austin, Gary Sanchez and Rob Refsnyder, all of whom are attempting to keep the Yankees in the Wild Card race in the Bronx.

For that same reason the RailRiders needed its pitchers to step up in the playoffs -- and that's exactly what they did. Veteran left-hander Phil Coke (1-0) was brilliant in his two starts for Scranton, posting a 0.63 ERA and a 0.42 WHIP with six hits allowed and 16 strikeouts over 14 1/3 innings. Right-hander Brady Lail (1-0) was equally impressive, firing six scoreless frames in Game 3 of the Governors' Cup to lower his postseason ERA to 0.87.

"It was impressive how the pitching staff performed throughout the whole season," Pedrique told MiLB.com. "[Pitching coach] Tom Phelps did an outstanding job with them. We kept saying it's not as much about the result, it's just the fact that they trust him and prepare well. Those guys really pay attention to detail and they deserve all the credit in the world."

The RailRiders won their final seven games to finish the regular season with an Triple-A-best 91-52 record and then blew past Lehigh Valley in the International League semifinals, outscoring the IronPigs 20-3 in a three-game sweep. Scranton would drop Game 1 of the finals versus Gwinnett, 7-4, only to rattle off three straight wins en route to claiming the Governors' Cup.

The RailRiders will now play the to-be-determined winner of the Pacific Coast League in the Triple-A Championship on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at AutoZone Park, with first pitch scheduled for 8:05 p.m. ET.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.