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Reineke, offense roast IronPigs in 7-4 battle08/26/2011 9:56 PM ET
By Ryan Suckow / Louisville Bats
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - An explosive two-out rally in the seventh and a stellar 6.1 innings from Bats starter Chad Reineke gave Louisville more than enough to take a 2-1 series lead over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs Friday night in a heated battle.
The game was turning into a pitcher's duel between Reineke and Lehigh Valley's starter Dave Bush, but it didn't start that way. It almost ended in a duel on the field.
Both teams dented the plate in the first. Rich Thompson wasted no time lining a first-pitch, leadoff triple to the wall in right-center field. Two pitches later, Kevin Frandsen singled Thompson home to give Lehigh Valley the early lead over Chad Reineke and the Bats. But Reineke got a double play and a strikeout to end the inning and limit the damage to a run.
It looked as if the Bats would go quietly in the first, but with two outs, Juan Francisco blasted his 15th home run of the season onto the Overlook Grill pavilion deep to right field, and Francisco stood at home and watched it fly as he tied the game at 1-1. The home run was Francisco's fifth since returning from the disable list on Aug. 5.
The IronPigs got back to it in the second inning. Erik Kratz doubled with one away and came home on a double by the pitcher Dave Bush who found some grass between Denis Phipps and Dorn in left-center field. Reineke once again kept damage to a minimum and got out of the inning trailing just 2-1.
James Skelton, making his first start since being promoted to Louisville, got the second run in for the Bats. After the first two Bats hitters reached, Costanzo grounded into a 3-6 fielder's choice, which allowed Hermida to advance to third with one out. Skelton then delivered his first career triple-A RBI with a sacrifice fly to center field to tie the game at 2-2.
Meanwhile, Reineke was mowing down IronPigs and only gave up three hits in his next 4.1 innings of scoreless baseball. But Bush had settled in as well allowing only two runs through four innings.
But Louisville grabbed the lead for Reineke in the fifth. Chris Valaika doubled with one out off of Bush and moved over to third when Francisco grounded out to first base. Phipps had a chance to drive in a run with two on and two out in the third and came up short. Phipps would redeem himself in the sixth going opposite field with a single that brought in Valaika, the go-ahead run to give the Bats and Reineke a 3-2 lead.
Reineke surrendered a leadoff single to Freddy Galvis in the seventh. After Bush sacrificed Galvis to second, Bats Manager Rick Sweet removed Reineke in favor of Jeremy Horst. Horst came in and shut the door on the IronPigs and preserved the lead for the Reineke and the Bats.
After a shaky start, Reineke left the game with a quality start lasting 6.1 innings allowing just two runs on eight hits while striking out four.
Phipps struck again in the bottom of the seventh with another two-out RBI single to give the Bats a much needed insurance run to push the lead to 4-2. The two RBI for Phipps surpassed his previous season high of 57 to give him 59 runs batted in at Carolina and Louisville combined.
The Main Street Maulers broke it open from there. Hermida lined a single which brought in two runs to give the Bats a 6-2 lead, and then Dorn double down the right field line to bring in the Bats seventh run. All runs scored with two outs in the inning.
Fireworks were scheduled for after the game, but some sparks flew early when Francisco was hit by a pitch in the eighth inning. Francisco was not pleased and appeared to have words for the Lehigh Valley dugout as he went to first. The benches cleared but the umpires were able to squash the situation before it got out of hand. Both benches were warned.
Jerry Gil, who entered the in the eighth inning, threw the first pitch of the ninth at the leg of Delwyn Young. Gil was ejected immediately and both benches emptied again. Nothing came of it besides some arguing and discussion, and in the end, Carlos Fisher was summoned to with a man on and no outs.
Fisher gave up a double to the first batter he faced, and just like that, the IronPigs were threatening with runners at second and third and still nobody out. But Fisher buckled down and struck out the next batter. He then got Domonic Brown to ground out to first base, which brought in a run. But the run was meaningless as Fisher got Brandon Moss swinging to record the final out of the game giving the Bats a 7-4 win to give them the 2-1 series lead over Lehigh Valley.
The Louisville victory pulls the Bats to within 5.0 games back of the IronPigs in the Wild Card. Both teams are back at it Saturday night as RHP Edinson Volquez (3-2, 2.42) and LHP Ryan Edell (5-5, 3.62) square off in the series finale at 7:05.