LAWRENCEVILLE, GA - In front of family and friends, Georgia native RHP David Buchanan turned in a strong performance for the IronPigs as they won their third consecutive game against the Gwinnett Braves, this one by the score of 2-1.
Pitching just over an hour away from his hometown of Fayetteville, GA, the 24-year-old righty collected his fourth win of 2014 and eighth since making his Triple-A debut August 4th, 2013 - most by any International League pitcher in that span. The IronPigs starter spun six strong innings, allowing seven hits and one run while striking out a season-high six Braves, with the lone run coming on an infield single by former IronPigs C Steven Lerud.
Lehigh Valley got their run production from one swing of the bat by catcher Sebastian Valle, when the native of Mexico launched a fourth-inning, two-run homer off of fellow countryman and G-Braves starting pitcher, RHP Daniel Rodriquez. After a OF Leandro Castro lead-off walk to open the second inning, Valle stepped to the plate and gave the IronPigs a 2-0 lead that they would never relinquish.
The offense for the Lehigh Valley only managed four hits, but the longball was enough for Buchanan and his bullpen. One IronPig that did not record a hit was 1B Jim Murphy, who entered Saturday's contest with a team-high, eleven-game hitting streak. The first baseman's streak ended merely due to bad luck, as the 28-year-old hit the ball as hard as anyone could in his first three at-bats and drew a walk in his fourth.
One streak that was continued on Saturday was the streak of innings without allowing an earned run by RHP Luis Garcia, which was extended to 19.0 for the hard-throwing righty. Garcia earned his fifth save of 2014 as he pitched a scoreless ninth inning, allowing one hit and striking out two. The Santo Domingo, DR native has only allowed one earned run (6/28/13 vs. DUR) in his 17 career Triple-A outings, and has converted all eight of his Triple-A save opportunities.
LHP Cesar Jimenez (1.1 ip) and RHP Justin De Fratus (0.2 ip) bridged the gap between the starter and closer, allowing no runs on one hit with two strikeouts between them. Both pitchers earned their third hold of the 2014 season, and continued the stellar play of this IronPigs bullpen in this series.
The IronPigs (14-14) are now back at .500 for the fourth time this season, but have yet to eclipse that mark. Manager Dave Brundage and his team will attempt to achieve that feat in a Sunday matinee tomorrow, as LHP Greg Smith takes his turn on the mound. The Louisiana native will face-off against RHP Gus Schlosser, who will be making his Triple-A debut after beginning the season in the majors. A first pitch time is set for 2:05 on Sunday, and the Pigs will look to tie a season-high with a fourth consecutive win and complete their first sweep of 2014.