ALLENTOWN, PA - Maikel Franco celebrated his birthday with a grand slam on Tuesday, that gave the IronPigs just enough to edge the Syracuse Chiefs 5-4 in the series finale.
Franco - who turned 22 on Tuesday - came to the plate with two outs in the fifth inning, after consecutive walks by Chiefs starter RHP Blake Treinen loaded the bases, and the Phillies top prospect launched his sixteenth homerun of the season to break a tie and give the Pigs a 5-1 lead. The Lehigh Valley third baseman - who was named IronPigs Offensive Player of the Year prior to Tuesday's game - has now hit a homerun in four of his last five games.
Treinen would be removed from the game after the grand slam, as he allowed five runs on five hits in four and two-thirds innings, leading to only his second Triple-A loss of the season (16 GS).
The Chiefs would respond with two runs in the top of the sixth inning, starting with a OF Destin Hood double that scored 3B Brandon Laird. 1B Tyler Moore would later score on a OF Jeff Kobernus infield-single to cut the lead to 5-3, but Hood would be thrown out at the plate, attempting to score from second base, to end the inning.
Syracuse would tally four consecutive two-out singles off of RHP Ethan Martin in the eighth inning, scoring once and cutting the lead to 5-4, but Hood would be thrown out at the plate again to end the inning, this time on a fabulous throw by OF Cam Perkins.
RHP Luis Garcia - who was honored as IronPigs Pitcher of the Year prior to Tuesday's game - relieved Martin and threw a perfect ninth inning to earn his International League-leading 21st save of the season.
The IronPigs would get on the board first with a run in the second inning, thanks to an RBI-force out off the bat of C Sebastian Valle that scored 1B Russ Canzler.
Syracuse would tie the game in the third when SS Emmanuel Burriss scored on a two-out, RBI-double by Laird.
RHP Sean O'Sullivan would earn his sixth win for Lehigh Valley this season, spinning six solid innings and allowing three runs on six hits and four walks while striking out four Chiefs.
The IronPigs continue their final homestand of the season on Wednesday when they begin a two-game set with the Pawtucket Red Sox with a 7:05 p.m. first pitch scheduled. Wednesday night is Prostate Cancer Awareness Night and includes a Foam Finger giveaway for the first 3,000 fans 18+ presented by Urology Specialists of the Lehigh Valley.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.