Pigs let one slip away
ALLENTOWN - If "Lost" were a television show that starred the IronPigs, the island would be called Coca-Cola Park.
The outcomes of games at that ballpark of late have come in strange if not bizarre manners. Tuesday night the IronPigs squandered a superb outing by Vance Worley in his Triple-A debut as Durham downed Lehigh Valley 5-3.
In recent games, shaky starting pitching gave up the lead with the IronPigs battling back behind solid relief pitching including Monday night's 15-inning loss. Last night, the bullpen was unable to hold up its end of the bargain.
IronPig closer Scott Mathieson was set to grab his 21st save with the IronPigs holding a 3-1 lead, but problems began immediately as Jose Lobaton homered to cut the lead to one. After a strikeout, Matheson beaned former IronPig J.J. Furmaniak to open the flood gates.
Elliot Johnson followed with a single and Justin Ruggiano sent Mathieson's 98 mph fastball into the IronPig bullpen for his 12th homer.
"He just didn't locate as well tonight," Huppert said. "He had his good fast ball but he just didn't have a good feel for his split fastball and didn't locate it well."
For the second game in a row, the IronPigs struck out 1-2-3 to end the game.
"We battled back, got the lead and just couldn't hold it," Huppert said.
If Worley was auditioning for a Broadway play, he got the part. With San Diego and Houston scouts in the crowd Worley sparkled throughout six shutout innings. It was highlighted by striking out the meaty side of the Durham order in the second inning and one walk that was intentionally given to Bull slugger Dan Johnson.
"He threw excellent tonight," Huppert said. "He had very good location of his fastball and threw in enough breaking stuff, he did a great job against a very good ball club."
Bull starter Heath Phillips shut the IronPigs for nearly seven innings. The IronPigs' best scoring chance early on came in the third inning as Neil Sellers led off with a double and tried to score on Brian Bocock's single. Elliot Johnson fired a strike to home to cut Sellers down at the plate.
Down 1-0 in the bottom of the eighth, Dom Brown became Mr. Clutch for the IronPigs by ripping a two-out standup triple to drive in Paul Hoover and Ozzie Chavez to give the IronPigs the lead. Andy Tracy singled in Brown for his team leading 56th RBI of the season.
R.J. Swindle allowed three runs, one earned, in getting the win while Scott Mathieson gets the loss.
The series with Durham continues today with Brandon Duckworth (5-3, 3.53) starting for Lehigh Valley. He will be opposed by Brian Baker (7-1, 2.48).