ALLENTOWN – It is funny how things can change so fast.
The Phillies Triple-A team came into last night's double-header against the Toledo Mudhens riding a season-high three game win streak that was highlighted by a 22-inning stretch of scoreless pitching.
Lehigh Valley ended the night with two more one-run losses that were highlighted by 11-straight scoreless innings for the IronPig offense, changing the entire outlook on the direction of the IronPigs.
The luck of the IronPigs could be seen in the bottom of the seventh of the second game. Down 2-1, 'Pig left-fielder Chris Duffy lined a shot up the middle. Mudhen starter Billy Buckner ducked, turned his head and flailed his arms. As if the ball was tethered by a string, it found its' way into Buckner's glove for the first out of the inning.
"Sometimes it just finds the glove, I don't know how," Huppert said. His team is now 6-19 in one-run games. The three-game win streak had a lot to do with the pitching staff shutting down opposing batters. Last night was not the case.
It was the third pitch by Joe Savery in the first game that set the tone for the night. Scott Sizemore crushed Savery's 2-1 offering to end the scoreless streak. After Savery struck out the next two batters, Ryan Strieby and Jeff Larish also hit solo homers to give the Mudhens a quick 3-0 lead.
"The ball was up a little bit and he didn't hit his spots in the first inning," Huppert said.
The IronPigs fought back in the bottom half of the inning. A one-out bunt single by Melvin Dorta and a two-out walk by Andy Tracy set the table for the IronPig leader in homeruns and run-batted in. Cody Ransom's three-run shot quickly tied the game.
Where walks are Savery's normal downfall, last night it was the home run. Jeff Frazier hit the Mudhens fourth solo shot to provid the first game's winning margin, 4-3.
"Tonight, he gave up solo home runs. He's aggressive, throwing strikes and going after the hitters. You are going to give up home runs. You just hope its not three in one inning," Huppert said.
In the night cap, IronPig starter Brandon Duckworth had a solid outing by giving up just two runs on five hits in five and two-thirds innings, but he was outdueled by Toledo's Billy Buckner. The burley right-hander held the IronPigs to just one run Andy Tracy's eighth homer of the season in the sixth inning.
"We're just not swinging the bats," manager Dave Huppert said. "You can expect to win many games when you just get three hits."
Piglets: Andy Tracy saw 22 pitches, only seven for strikes. He had three of the IronPigs nine hits on the night and walked three times ... Reliever Mike Zagurski got four outs in the second game. That marks his 14th straight appearance without giving up an earned run.