MOOSIC – Scranton/Wilkes-Barre pitchers threw eight shutout innings on Monday night.
Unfortunately for starter Chris Leroux and the rest of the team, the opening inning was shaky.
Lehigh Valley scored four runs on five hits and batted around in the first inning against Leroux, and that was too much for the RailRiders to overcome in a 4-2 loss to the IronPigs at PNC Field.
Leroux struck out the first and last batters of the frame, but six batters reached base in between. The positives to come out of the stretch of hits is that they were all soft-contact singles and the IronPigs baserunners all moved up one base on each hit. Reid Brignac, Steve Susdorf and Leandro Castro had the run-scoring hits, while Sebastian Valle added a sacrifice fly to cap the scoring for the 4-0 lead.
“Pretty frustrating,” Leroux said. “Those hits in the first were the hardest hit balls.”
Leroux rebounded nicely after the first inning, when he threw 36 pitches in the first inning and needed just 34 to get through the next three frames. His day ended after just four innings and ended with 48 of his 70 pitches going for strikes.
“The last three innings were pretty good. I wish I could erase the first, however many hitters were in the first,” he said. “I always try to take positives and not dwell on what went wrong.”
After Leroux was lifted, the RailRiders bullpen did a stellar job the rest of the game throwing five shutout innings while only giving up four hits. Fred Lewis pitched 2 1/3 innings, Mark Montgomery went 1 2/3, and Yoshinori Tateyama tossed a scoreless ninth. In all, the relievers struck out seven and didn’t give up any walks.
But is still wasn’t enough as Lehigh Valley won consecutive games for the first time this season and won its first series of the season.
“I kept telling myself ‘Stay aggressive, stay aggressive.’ Just taking control of every pitch one-by-one,” Lewis said. “And I think Montgomery and Tateyama both did the same thing, real aggressive with fastballs and sliders and did well.”
While the IronPigs were being held in check after the first, SWB started to chip away. The RailRiders got two runs back in the fifth inning, one run scoring on a throwing error by Buchanan and the second coming home when Corban Joseph drove in Jose Pirela with a single to trim the deficit to 4-2. It was the third time in the series that SWB relied on Lehigh Valley errors to score a run. In addition to that, the RailRiders only had five hits all night - all singles - and went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
SWB got started slow again on Monday as Lehigh Valley starter David Buchanan didn’t allow a hit until Carmen Angelini singled with one out in the third. In those innings, the RailRiders only saw 11 pitches each inning against Lehigh Valley starter David Buchanan and just 44 through the first four stanzas.
“We were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, it’s not like we didn’t have chances,” manager Dave Miley said. “Four runs is four runs, but to make up for it we had 27 outs, but we’re just not getting the big hits. …We gotta do a better job, plain and simple. Opportunities were there, we gotta find a way to get them in.”