Earlier this season, J.A. Happ could not win no matter how well he pitched. Now that the run support is consistently showing up, Happ is starting to rack up some well-deserved victories.
Happ struck out nine and allowed one hit over six innings and the Lehigh Valley IronPigs received production throughout their lineup in a 7-0 blanking of the Durham Bulls Monday night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Happ (5-6) won for the fifth time in his last seven decisions after starting off the season with four straight losses. In his first four defeats, his teammates scored just five runs but in the five victories, they have pushed 35 runs across the plate.
The 25-year-old left-hander has held up his end on the mound. In his five victories, he has allowed a total of eight earned runs on 25 hits while striking out 35 over 32 2/3 innings.
On Monday, he tossed four no-hit innings, walked two and threw 65 of 95 pitches for strikes to overtake Syracuse's David Purcey for the league lead in strikeouts with 99.
Andy Cannizaro broke up Happ's no-hit bid with a leadoff single to left field in the fifth, but the former third-round pick struck out Reid Brignac on three pitches and retired Hector Gimenez on an inning-ending double play.
Happ also has been helped by his improved health. He struggled with a sore elbow last season and was 4-6 in Triple-A after making a spot start for the Phillies on June 30.
The IronPigs gave Happ a lead before his outing even began as Brandon Watson doubled and scored on Mike Cervanek's single. Jon Knott led off the second with his sixth home run.
Brennan King blasted his fifth dinger in the fifth and Lehigh Valley put the contest away with a three-run sixth. Andy Tracy had an RBI infield single and Jason Jaramillo and King lined run-scoring base hits.
Durham starter Mitch Talbot (6-6) allowed six runs on nine hits over 5 2/3 innings.
Larry Fleisher is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.