The Fresno Grizzlies defeated the Columbus Clippers (Cleveland Indians) on Tuesday night in a winner-take-all championship game to decide the Triple-A National Championship. The title is the first in Fresno’s franchise history and comes in the first season as the Houston Astros Triple-A affiliate.
Chris Devenski made one start with the Fresno Grizzlies this season. That one start took place on Tuesday and was enough to clinch the Triple-A National Championship and MVP of the game honors. Devenski – a round 25 draft pick of the White Sox in 2011 – was the player to be named later in a trade between the White Sox and Astros in 2012 when the Astros sent over Brett Myers.
In 2015, he put together his best full season of professional baseball, spending all of the regular season with the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks. With Corpus Christi, Devesnki maintained a tidy 3.01 ERA in 119+ innings. After Dan Straily‘s two stellar playoff performances, the Houston Astros recalled him to be a long arm out of their bullpen. Then, the Grizzlies called on Devenski to be their guy on Tuesday after making only two PCL Playoff appearances in relief.
The Grizzlies offense gave Devenski an early cushion, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning on four singles, a sac fly, and an error. In the second inning, the Grizzlies tacked on two more runs as Alex Presley scored in consecutive innings to drive the lead to 5-0. The offense tacked on a run in the third and fifth innings to end the scoring for the night.
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With a 7-0 lead by the fifth inning, Devenski mowed through the Columbus lineup by retiring the first 15 batters he faced. The Clippers led off the sixth inning with a single, but Devenski quickly sat down the next three batters. The right-hander finished even stronger than he started, striking out all three batters in his seventh and final inning on swings and misses. Devenski’s final line in his first Triple-A start was more than impressive: 7.0 IP, 1 H, 9 Ks.
Jordan Jankowski replaced Devenski in the eighth inning, allowing one hit and striking out two before the Grizzlies called on closer James Hoyt to finish the game. Hoyt retired the first two before allowing a single but got the final batter to pop up in foul territory to end it. With the win, the Grizzlies became the only team in all of Triple-A to win their final playoff game in 2015.
The Grizzlies finished the regular season 84-59 before defeating the Texas Rangers’ affiliate in the PCL Championship.