Franco Hits for Cycle, IronPigs Split Twin Bill

(J.J. Horvath)

By Alec Scercy / Lehigh Valley IronPigs | August 23, 2014 10:53 PM

ALLENTOWN, PA - The IronPigs got great pitching performances in both legs of a doubleheader and got the second "cycle" in IronPigs history, but split the twin bill to open the five-game series with the International League North division-leading Syracuse Chiefs.

Lehigh Valley used thirteen hits to score seven runs in game-two on Saturday to win 7-1 behind LHP Jeremy Horst.

Horst hurled four strong innings, allowing only one hit while striking out six, and the bullpen-regular was removed with a six-run lead after throwing 49 pitches over four innings.

3B Maikel Franco put the Pigs on the board first in the second inning, with an RBI-triple that scored SS Cesar Hernandez from first base. Lehigh Valley would go on to score three more runs in the inning, on a OF Russ Canzler RBI-double and a C Sebastian Valle two-run single that gave the Pigs a 4-0 lead.

The Pigs hot hitting continued in the fourth inning, starting with 2B Tyler Henson's lead-off double. Henson would score on Franco's fifth hit of the day - a single - before OF Leandro Castro drove in Hernandez to give Lehigh Valley a 6-0 advantage.

Franco would add an insurance run in the sixth inning as he completed his 4-4 game-two with a solo-homerun; completing the second "cycle" in IronPigs history. The Phillies top-prospect finished 6-7 with (2 HR, 3B, 2B, 2 1B) with four RBI and four runs scored between the two games.

The seven-run lead was more than enough for Horst and company, as the lefty gave way to RHP Tyler Knigge to begin the fifth, who allowed one run (unearned) on one hit over one and two-thirds innings to earn his third career Triple-A victory. RHP Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez relieved Knigge to record the final out of the sixth inning and remained in the game to close-out the Chiefs and hold on to an IronPigs 7-1 victory.

RHP Jeff Manship got the start in game one for the IronPigs, pitching a complete game and allowing only two hits. Unfortunately for the Notre Dame product, one of the two hits he allowed was a three-run homerun, which was enough to give Syracuse a 3-2 victory.

The IronPigs took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning with a line-drive shot by 3B Maikel Franco that was just high enough to carry over the left field wall.

With the 1-0 advantage in the second inning, Manship walked the first two batters of the inning before C Sandy Leon made him pay with a three-run blast, which would be enough to give the Chiefs their 77th victory of the season.

Lehigh Valley would cut the lead to 3-2 in the third inning when Franco scored from second base on a 1B Jim Murphy two-out single off of Syracuse starter RHP Mitch Lively.

Lively would hurl five solid innings, allowing the two runs on four hits while striking out six to earn his fourth International League win of the season. RHP Ryan Mattheus and RHP Rafael Martin each followed with a scoreless inning of their own, with Mattheus allowing one hit and earning a hold, and Martin allowing no hits and earning his eighth save of the season.

These two teams continue their five-game series with a Sunday matinee at 1:35, with RHP Jason Marquis set to take the mound for the IronPigs. Sunday's game will also feature a Trucker Hat giveaway for the first 3,000 fans 18 and older, presented by UGI Utilities.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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