ALLENTOWN – Consistency is sometimes overrated.
While consistent teams usually do well, the IronPigs are consistent in one-game streaks. After a 10-run explosion Saturday to begin the homestand with a win over Indianapolis, Lehigh Valley was 'robbed' of a win Sunday as the Indians downed the IronPigs 5-4.
The main culprit in the loss was lead off hitter and former Yankee prospect Jose Tabata whose four hits, three runs, and three steals proved to be too much for IronPig starter Nate Bump.
In the three innings that Tabata led off, he singled, stole a base and scored each time.
Neil Walker, one of the top-Pirate prospects for a few years delivered the big hits. His first inning triple drove in Tabata and his towering third-inning blast pushed the Indian lead to 4-0.
"We got behind Walker all day long," managar Dave Huppert said. "When the lead off hitter gets on you have to get ahead of the next guy so you can do somethings to hold him on first base."
The top two hitters in the lineup were responsible for the five runs while the other seven only managed four hits, two off Bump. Those five runs in five innings were enough to give Bump his first loss of the season.
"He was just flat today, he didn't have the good sink," Huppert said.
Winning pitcher Michael Crotta made his first triple-A start for the Indians. All he did was shut down the IronPig sluggers for first five innings. The hardest hit ball came off the bat of John Mayberry who drilled a ball to the wall only to get thrown out trying to stretch it to a double.
"He's a good pitcher, he pounded the strike zone. He's got good stuff," Lehigh Valley centerfielder Rich Thompson said. "He's not a guy we're going out and score six-seven-eight runs."
Things changed in the sixth inning. Brian Bocock led off with a single and reliever Brian Gordon's bunt single set up Thompson's two-run single.
Thompson scored on Mayberry's ground out to cut the lead to 5-3.
With two outs in the eighth inning, Thomspon singled, stole his second base of the day, and scored on Luis Maza's hit to bring the score to 5-4. Mayberry walked but the Indians brought on closer Wilfredo Ledezma to strike out Andy Tracy to end the threat.
Thompson, whose three hits paced the 'Pigs, is seeing more playing time due to injuries and making the most if it.
"I've been in there quite a bit lately. I just have to come in prepared and hope good things will happen and today it did," Thompson said.
Another bright spot was the four innings of relief by the Lehigh Valley bullpen. Brian Gordon struck out four in two scoreless innings raising his strikeout to walk ration to 20:2.
Mike Zagurski and Scott Mathieson completed the last two innings of scoreless baseball.
The IronPigs dropped to 10-13 on the season falling to just 2-8 on the season in one-run games. It is also been 13 games that Lehigh Valley has not won or lost a second game which bodes well for Joe Savery, and the fans for tonight's game.
- The IronPigs are shorthanded as outfielders DeWayne Wise (groin) and Chris Duffy (concussion-like symptoms after crashing into the OF wall) sat out the past two games and are day-to-day. That allowed Brian Mazone, a pitcher with a solid reputation at the plate, filled in Saturday night as a pinch-hitter.
- Cody Ransom has hit in nine of his last 10 games.
- Backup catcher Bronson Sardinha went 0-4 with three K's Sunday after hitting safely in his seven previous games for a .414 average.