Allentown, PA - The Louisville Bats kicked off game five of their eight game road trip with a series opener against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs this evening. With Cincinnati Reds rehabbing starting pitcher Micah Owings on the hill, the Bats prevailed 4-3. The game was played at Coca Cola field in front of 9,544 fans.
After two and a half scoreless frames, the IronPigs got on the board in the bottom of the third on a lead-off home run by Miguel Cairo, his fifth of the season, putting the Pigs in front, 1-0.
The Bats answered in the top of the fourth. Chris Heisey led off the inning with a bunt single. With one out, Wes Bankston singled to center, advancing Heisey to second. Danny Dorn then grounded into a fielder's choice, advancing Heisey to third, and forcing out Bankston at second. Chris Valaika then struck out, but the pitch by Pigs starting pitcher Andrew Carpenter eluded the catcher, scoring Heisey and Valaika made it to first safely, thus tying the game at one.
The Bats gained the lead in the top of the fifth inning. Drew Stubbs drew a one-out walk and subsequently stole second base, his 45th steal of the season, leading the International League. Luis Bolivar came up next, singling and advancing Stubbs to third with one-out. Kevin Barker then stepped up and blasted his 22nd home run of the season, giving the Bats a 4-1 lead.
The IronPigs were able to cut into the three-run lead in the bottom of the seventh. Paul Hoover led off the inning with a walk, and advanced to second on a ground out by Jason Ellison. The next batter was retired and Cairo was able to double with two outs, scoring Hoover, making it a 4-2 game. David Newhan then singled, scoring Cairo, as the Pigs edged closer to 4-3.
Owings, on a limited pitch count, pitched four-and-two-thirds innings, giving up five hits, one run, two walks, while striking out two.
Lee Tabor picked up the win in relief of Owings. Tabor (2-0, 4.50) pitching an inning-and-two-thirds, giving up two hits, one run, one walk, and struck out two batters.
Carpenter (9-3, 2.86) took the loss for the IronPigs. He tossed seven innings, surrendering nine hits, four runs, one walk, while striking out seven.
The Bats and IronPigs will lock up in game two of the series tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m.