(ALLENTOWN, PA – SYRACUSE METS)A back-and-forth game eventually turned in favor of the home team as the Syracuse Mets dropped the opening game of a three-game series to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 9-3, on Tuesday night at Coca-Cola Park.
Syracuse (24-19) continued its early scoring theme from its first trip to the Lehigh Valley with a first-inning run on Tuesday. With one out, Grégor Blanco and Danny Espinosa each singled, putting runners on first and third base. The Mets hottest hitter of late, Rene Rivera, then hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Blanco for a 1-0 lead.
Lehigh Valley (22-19) answered in the bottom of the second. Ali Castillo singled with two outs, and Damek Tomscha walked. Matt McBride then singled to right to score Castillo and tie the game, 1-1. It marked the first runs allowed by Syracuse starting pitcher Corey Oswalt in 11 innings.
Mitch Walding gave the IronPigs the lead in the forth, starting off the inning with a solo home run to center field to put Lehigh Valley up, 2-1.
Syracuse would briefly take the lead back in the top of the fifth. Oswalt singled to start the inning, and Rajai Davis was hit by a pitch. After a groundout moved the runners up to second and third, Espinosa walked to load the bases. Rivera then came up big again, this time with a two-run single to center field to give the Mets a 3-2 edge.
Again the IronPigs didn’t stay down for long, scoring in the bottom of the fifth. Shane Robinson and Malquin Canelo singled with one out. The Mets denied the first scoring chance of the inning when Lane Adams singled to right field. Blanco threw out Robinson at the plate on a 9-6-5-2 play at home. But with runners now on second and third, Deivy Grullon singled to center field to score both runs and give Lehigh Valley back the lead, 4-3.
The IronPigs broke the game open in the eighth. Grullon singled, Walding reached on an error, and Castillo singled to load the bases. Tomacha then singled back to the mound, for an infield hit that scored Grullon for a 5-3 lead. McBride followed with a grand slam over the left-field fence to push the Lehigh Valley advantage to six, 9-3.
Syracuse and Lehigh Valley continue their three-game series with the second game on Wednesday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.