ALLENTOWN – With the Phillies activating J.A. Happ and sending him to Lehigh Valley, Brandon Duckworth's days in the starting rotation may be numbered. Not if you ask Duckworth.
The Major League veteran put together a seven-inning, three-hit shutout of the Pawtucket PawSox. For the third straight night the IronPig offense provided the support as Lehigh Valley won their third straight game over Pawtucket, 6-0.
"Right there at the end I kind of hit a wall but I was able to dig through it," Duckworth said of his seventh inning. "It's a good feeling to get out there and put up some zeroes and give the offense some confidence."
Duckworth battled the heat and humidity of the 97-degree heat at the start of the game to pitch to the minimum through the first four innings. Although he walked three, he struck out a team season high 10 batters and was aided by a pair of double plays.
"Anytime your defense can roll double plays it's a blessing for the pitcher as well as the club," Duckworth said.
In 2001, Duckworth was a prized prospect in the Phillies organization going 13-2 with a 2.63 ERA in 22 starts for then Phillies Triple-A affiliate Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons. After parts of three seasons for the Phillies, he was shipped to Houston in the deal that brought Billy Wagner to Philly in 2003.
Another IronPig offensive explosion in the fifth inning once again put the game out of reach. Once again it was Domonic Brown to spark things.
After Ozzie Chavez and Chris Duffy singled to start the inning, the hot-hitting prospect singled to the opposite field against PawSox lefty Kris Johnson to plate Chavez. Brown racked up other two-hit performance to raise his average to .413.
"He still keeps plate discipline in there," manager Dave Huppert said. "Tonight he hooked that one in there for a single and the other one he stayed through and hit the line drive to left field."
The IronPigs added a sacrifice fly by John Mayberry (2-for-2) and an RBI double by Neil Sellers (3-for-4). Paul Hoover finished the scoring in the inning with a two-run single to push the score to 6-0.
"Sellers had a real good night at the plate, so did Mayberry," Huppert said. "The offense is getting clutch hits. It's something we haven't been [getting]."
Phillie set up man Ryan Madson looked sharp in striking out two in his perfect eighth inning of work and appeared ready to resume his duties with the Phillies.
"He made it look pretty easy tonight," Huppert said. "He was a lot more under control. He used all of his pitches."
Pig-lets: Lefty Dom Brown is batting .429 (6-of-14) against left-handed pitchers ... Drew Carpenter's win Monday was his franchise-leading 18th. He is un-scored upon in is last two starts (14.0 innings pitched).