ALLENTOWN – When you are not hitting well, a solid outing from a starting pitcher and stellar defense might be what the doctor ordered to get the team back to winning ways.
With the aid of two outstanding outfield assists, Nate Bump pitched seven shutout innings as the IronPigs dumped the Columbus Clippers 2-1.
"We played some good defense tonight," manager Dave Huppert said. "All the way around it was a good ball game."
Paul Hoover singled in Dewayne Wise to give the IronPigs a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning and it seemed they would lose that lead as quickly as they got it.
Devin Ivany doubled to lead off the third inning for the Clippers. A batter later, a single by Roger Bernadina sent Ivany toward home only to be thrown out by a perfect throw by Chris Duffy.
Pete Orr laced another shot this time to centerfielder Wise whose perfect throw home, and another Hoover tag, this time on Bernadina, ended the inning.
"Duffy made a [great] thrown and so did Dewayne [Wise]," Hoover said.
"As a catcher I am just trying to catch the ball and apply the tag as fast as I can."
With those two outs, Bump found what he called a "new life".
"I don't think I've ever seen two in a row like that," Bump said. "When you escape that kind of inning ... I felt I had to bear down."
Bump stepped up his efforts and shut down the Clipper hitters for the next four innings before giving the ball to the bullpen. With his sinker not working to perfection, Bump relied more on his cutter and still got 13 ground ball outs.
"He used a bunch of pitches, mixed things up and kept them off balance," Hoover said.
The IronPig offense continued to sputter. In each of the first three innings, they had multiple runners on base but only scratched out a pair of runs.
In the third, John Mayberry doubled and Andy Tracy walked. Wise then delivered an RBI single.
"We're gonna be streaky because we have a lot of guys who strike out a lot," Huppert said."Right now we don't have any one stepping up to (produce runs)."
J.C. Romero pitched back-to-back games for the first time in his rehab with the IronPigs and threw 14 pitches. Only six were strikes and he left two runners on. Mike Zagurski came in to keep the Clippers scoreless.
"He was only out there for a few pitches," Huppert said. "They didn't want to over extend them with his first back-to-back game."
In the ninth, Scott Mathieson, struck out the first two batters before walking the next two and giving up an RBI single to Bernadina.
Jason Anderson got the one pitch save by getting Pete Orr to ground out.
"Every game we played against these guys has been down to the wire," Hoover said.
Tonight, Lehigh Valley (5-7) will have Joe Savery on the mound against Pawtucket. The Pigs will face Red Sox ace Daisuke Matsuzaka, who is making a rehab appearance.
Sty script: J.C. Romero reported he is ready to go after last night's performance. "My arm felt great, better today than yesterday," Romero said. "I let loose and my arm responded and the ball was moving all over the place, which is a good sign." ... Brad Lidge will rehab for the IronPigs on Thursday.