Brad Lincoln gained a measure of revenge on Saturday night. And in the process, he may have doomed himself to continue on as a starter.
The Phillies farmhand yielded one hit and fanned seven over six scoreless innings as Triple-A Lehigh Valley shut down visiting Indianapolis, 3-1.
After giving up a two-out double to Chris McGuiness in the second inning, Lincoln (3-3) issued a leadoff walk to Robert Andino in the third, then retired 11 straight batters. The spell ended on a throwing error by second baseman Tyler Henson.
"I was just trying to fill up the zone and let my defense do the work for me," Lincoln said. "I was working out of some three-ball counts and trying to get deep into the game."
Drafted fourth overall by the Pirates in 2005, Lincoln's third win of the year came against the team with which he spent parts of four seasons from 2009-12.
"It was fun," he said of pitching against former teammates. "I know a lot of the guys on that team, I was joking around with the catcher when I went up there to hit. It makes it fun, a game within a game. It feels good to do that against any team, but against your former team it's a little chip on your shoulder. You want to do good."
The 29-year-old right-hander started the year in the IronPigs bullpen after working exclusively as a reliever in 2013. He was coming off what had been his finest start of the year, giving up three hits over seven shutout innings against Durham on June 2. Ironically, Lincoln said he prefers working out of the bullpen.
"To be quite honest, I'd still prefer to be a reliever, but I'm here to do what they ask of me," he added. "Right now, that's to be a starting pitcher. Just mentality-wise, I think it better suits me. I'm able to go out there and be that bulldog and come into that big situation and get some outs. But pitching is pitching, and wherever they have me, that's what I'm going to be happy with."
Hector Neris followed Lincoln and struck out two in a perfect seventh, but B.J. Rosenberg lost the shutout bid in the eighth. Luis Garcia allowed a hit and a walk in the ninth but struck out Nevin Ashley to register his seventh save.
Cam Perkins, the Phillies' No. 14 prospect, was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs for Lehigh Valley.
A.J. Morris (0-1) took the loss in his Triple-A debut after allowing three runs on six hits over six innings. He walked three and struck out five.