When he left the game, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders starter Brady Lail looked like he left the team in good shape.
Taylor Featherston and the Durham Bulls had other ideas.
Featherston blasted a grand slam in the bottom of the seventh inning Saturday, spoiling a superb start by Lail and handing the RailRiders a 6-3 defeat at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
The loss was just the second for the RailRiders over their past nine games, but both those defeats came during their last three games in Durham.
In one of his most dominant starts of the season, Lail allowed four hits and one run over his six innings. He surrendered a single to Jake Hager that drove in Featherston and tied the game 1-1 in the fifth inning, struck out four and didn’t walk anyone.
He also left with a 3-1 lead.
Ji-Man Choi powered a two-out home run to break a scoreless deadlock in the top of the fifth, and after Durham tied it in the bottom of the frame, the RailRiders put up two more runs in the sixth.
Donovan Solano sent a shot over the blue monster wall in left-center field to put the RailRiders back on top, then Billy McKinney singled home Jake Cave for a two-run RailRiders advantage later in the frame.
It didn’t last long.
Tyler Jones replaced Lail to start the seventh and the Bulls began a rally.
Johnny Field and Patrick Leonard both singled, before Curt Casali drew a walk to fill the bases. Featherston then ripped a grand slam to center field to give Durham the lead for good.
Durham’s Patrick Leonard added a solo homer in the eighth for the game’s final run.
Reliever Andrew Kittredge (6-1) tossed two scoreless innings for the win. Diego Castillo worked around a McKinney base hit in a scoreless ninth for his fourth save. Jones (6-4) suffered the loss and his fifth blown save.
McKinney and Cave both went 2 for 4 for the RailRiders.
The four-game series between the International League’s two best teams concludes Sunday evening, when the RailRiders will sent All-Star Caleb Smith to the mound against Brent Honeywell. Smith is 9-1 with a 2.39 ERA.