ALLENTOWN – The IronPigs and scoreless inning streaks have usually meant the Lehigh Valley squad faltered again.
Now it is synonymous with winning. Last night, Nate Bump scuffled through six scoreless innings as the IronPigs defeated the Toledo Mudhens 3-0 at Coca Cola Park.
After Monday's 1-0 win over Charlotte, yesterday marked the first time in franchise history that 2-straight shutouts were recorded by the Lehigh Valley Club. It also extended the franchise best scoreless innings streak to 22 innings.
Charlotte catcher Tyler Flowers' homerun off Alex Concepcion this past Sunday marked the last time an opponent scored on the IronPigs.
In the top of the first, it did not seem like Bump would make it out of the inning. A single and two walks loaded the bases but Bump fooled Toledo's Brent Dlugach to strike him out looking to end the inning.
"You never want to start out the game that way," Bump said. "To get out of it kind of set the tone and gives me a little bit confidence going into the next inning,"
Although Bump improved to 6-3 on the season and lowered his ERA to 2.71, the sinker-baller has issues on the mound.
"Right now I don't seem to have a good sinker and I am battling through games just to change eye-level and mix up pitches," Bump said. "It hasn't been pretty. I've been giving up hits; a lot of innings with runners on base."
The only major obstacle Bump faced came from his catcher. In the third inning Jeff Frazier led off with a single and tried to steal second. Catcher Paul Hoover tried to gun him out but gunned down his pitcher instead.
Bump crouched down to let the ball be thrown past him to second base and got plugged in the back by Hoover's throw.
"I have a nice little welt there," Bump said after the game. "I didn't know what was going on. I was like 'what just happened to me?'".
Bump made it through the sixth inning and passed it off to the bullpen. Ryan Vogelsong struck out three in two scoreless innings to set up closer Scott Mathieson.
Mathieson was not sharp in walking two in the ninth but he was able to redeem his only blown save. Last week, Tiger top-prospect Scott Sizemore went yard on the IronPig closer, but last night Mathieson struck him out with three pitches.
"That's what I like about closing. It's the pressure," Mathieson said. "To have back-to-back shutouts and three straight wins, it's great!"
The IronPig offense continues to struggle. Although Neil Sellers chalked up two hits including an RBI double to drive in Willy Tavares in the first inning, Lehigh Valley registered only six hits. None of them came in the eighth when they plated two runs.
"We still have to get the offense going. We just can't rely on pitching every night," Huppert said. "Our big output tonight [in the eighth] was three walks and an error."
Lehigh Valley looks to extend their season best three-game win streak tonight with Joe Savery (1-4, 4.66) facing Toledos Enrique Gonzalez (0-1, 16.62) with a 7:05 start.