Bump, offense lead Pigs
ALLENTOWN - After Sunday night's game, Lehigh Valley starter Brian Bass predicted the offense was about to explode.
Although they came up short with runs, his prophecy came true. The IronPigs belted out 13 hits in support of a solid effort by starter Nate Bump to lead Lehigh Valley to a 4-1 win over the Columbus Clippers.
Bump, who entered the game with an uncharacteristic 5.88 ERA, had his sinker and his cutter working to perfection.
"I've been told that is vintage Nate Bump," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "His cutter was moving a foot to two feet and mixing them up by running the ball in the other direction. It was a guessing game on which way the ball would dart."
The right-handed Bump (3-6), winning his first game since May 11 at Toledo, pitched seven innings and surrendered just three hits and walked one. Bump, who spent the better part of June on the disabled list (hamstring), started to feel his 'stuff' come back to him in his last start in Pawtucket.
"I feel good now and I feel like I am where I need to be finally," Bump said.
"It's right on time to have him throw a game like that and hopefully that can carry on for the rest of the season. That was outstanding," said Sandberg.
Toledo's only run came on a Beau Mills solo homer off lefty reliever Mike Zagurski in the eighth inning. Justin De Fratus pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save of the year.
After dropping the opener Friday night, Lehigh Valley has now won three straight to take the Columbus series.
Four IronPigs registered multi-hit games as all nine batters reached safely in the game.
Rich Thompson was a catalyst for the offense at the top of the batting order. His leadoff double sparked the IronPigs to give starter Bump a lead to pitch with.
Pete Orr singled in Thompson and scored on Delwyn Young's ground out to give Lehigh Valley a 2-0 lead over the league's best team.
Thompson, 3-for-5, added an RBI in the second and Cody Overbeck drove in Erik Kratz in the sixth inning to round out the scoring for Lehigh Valley (60-43).
LV hitters with runners-in-scoring position were characteristically inept garnering just two runs in 17 at-bats.
"It's one of those things that this might be our team," Bump said. "One night it's the pitching the next night you hit two home runs and win 7-2."
Lehigh Valley opens up a four-game series with second-place Pawtucket tonight.
With Pawtucket's 8-7 loss to Buffalo last night, the IronPig win increases their IL North lead to two games over the PawSox.
"We'll try to carry this momentum into the next series and try to keep it going in that direction," Sandberg said.
Ryan Feierabend (9-5, 5.42) takes the hill against Tony Pena Jr. (7-4, 3.34) tonight with Roy Oswalt making a rehab start for the IronPigs on Wednesday.