MOOSIC, Pennsylvania – The Pacific Coast League champion Memphis Redbirds dropped a 5-3 decision to the International League champion Durham Bulls (Rays) Tuesday night in the 2017 Gildan Triple-A National Championship Game in Moosic, Pa., at the home of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
Tyler O'Neill and Wilfredo Tovar had two hits apiece for the Redbirds, and Jacob Wilson had a two-run double in the first inning that gave the Redbirds an early lead. The big blow in the game was a fourth-inning grand slam by Kean Wong, the brother of former Redbird and current St. Louis Cardinals infield Kolten Wong, which was part of a 3-for-4 game.
Combining the regular season and postseason, the Redbirds won a remarkable 97 games in 2017 and captured their third PCL championship (2000, 2009) and 15th title in 119 seasons of professional baseball in The Bluff City dating back to 1877. The Redbirds went 91-50 in the regular season, setting a franchise record for victories and becoming the first PCL team since Tucson in 2006 to win 90 games in the regular season.
First-year skipper Stubby Clapp was named PCL Manager of the Year, and Patrick Wisdom became the first Redbird since 2013 to earn All-PCL honors before capping his season with the MVP award in the PCL playoffs.
All of the Redbirds' success came while using 62 different players during the season, including 14 making their Triple-A debuts, with 22 different players also playing for St. Louis and nine making their Major League debuts.
Additional Season Highlights:
- Memphis' 91 wins were the 10th-most in 119 seasons of professional baseball in Memphis, and the season's .645 winning percentage was fourth-best
- Memphis was one of four teams in MiLB with 90+ wins (Trenton Thunder [AA], 92-48; West Michigan Whitecaps [A], 91-45; Chattanooga Lookouts [AA], 91-49; Memphis Redbirds [AAA], 91-50)
- Memphis went 41 games over .500 during the regular season, the most by a PCL club since Albuquerque was 56 games over at 94-38 in 1981
- The Redbirds won the PCL American Southern Division by 22.0 games, and since divisions were established in the PCL in 1963, only two other teams won their division by 20 or more games (1970 Spokane Indians, 26.0 games; 1981 Albuquerque Dukes, 25.0 games)
- Memphis ended the season with its best ERA in franchise history (3.77) (3.89, 1998 and 2003), matched its best fielding percentage (.984) (.984, 2014), and had its third-best batting average (.278) (.284, 1999; .279, 2004)
- The Redbirds won a franchise-record 11-straight games April 28-May 8 and then had streaks of seven-straight and nine-straight in July. The Redbirds also won 12-straight home gamesfrom July 3-27 and seven-straight road games from May 2-8
- The Redbirds won or split 27-straight series from April 18-21 at Colorado Springs through Aug. 15-18 versus Nashville (17-0-10)