PAWTUCKET, RI - The IronPigs use two homeruns to break out of their offensive slump, beating the Pawtucket Red Sox 7-3 to avoid the four-game series sweep.
Lehigh Valley took advantage of the PawSox defensive miscues to take a second-inning lead; with DH Jim Murphy scoring on a fielder's choice after going from first to third base on two pass balls from knuckleballer RHP Steven Wright. A throwing error by catcher Dan Butler on a double-steal attempt allowed OF Tony Gwynn Jr. to score with two outs giving the IronPigs a two-run advantage.
OF Bryce Brentz hit what appeared to be a game-tying homerun in the bottom of the third inning, but the ball was ruled in-play, resulting in an RBI-triple. PawSox Manager Kevin Boles would be ejected after arguing that the ball hit the foul-pole, which should result in a homerun, but Brentz would score a batter later on a 3B Carlos Rivero single, tying the game a two.
Murphy would break the tie his eleventh homerun of the season, to the cheers of many friends and family local to the Rhode Island area. The IronPigs' designated hitter led the team's 12-hit brigade with a three-hit night, one of four Pigs with multiple hits.
The IroPigs would add to that one-run lead in the top of the fifth inning, with a four-run frame highlighted starting with a 1B Maikel Franco RBI-single to score 2B Tyler Henson. The next batter was OF John Mayberry Jr., who gave Lehigh Valley a 7-2 lead with a three-run blast; his first since joining the IronPigs this season.
A Rivero solo-homer in the bottom half of the inning off of Lehigh Valley starter LHP Greg Smith would cut the Lead to 7-3, but the bullpens would take over and not allow another run over the final four frames.
Smith would be relieved two batters later, using 106 pitches to get through four and two-thirds innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits while striking out four.
RHP Hector Neris relieved Smith to get the final out of the fifth inning, and went on to throw two and one-third innings of scoreless, one-hit baseball; earning his fourth win of the season.
RHP Luis Garcia then came on to record the final six outs of the ballgame, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out three; but, entering the game with a four-run lead did not earn save number twenty on the season.
The IronPigs return to Coca-Cola Park on Saturday to begin their final homestand that will include nine games in eight days. Saturday's doubleheader will begin a 5:35 p.m. and see RHP Jeff Manship take on RHP Mitch Lively in game one.