ALLENTOWN, P.A. (SYRACUSE METS) –
The Lehigh Valley IronPigs eeked out another close game against the Syracuse Mets on Saturday night, edging the road team by a 7-4 final on a muggy Saturday night in Allentown. The IronPigs have now won four of the first five games in the six-game series. 10 of the 17 games the two teams have played against one another so far this season have been decided by three runs or less. Syracuse has won five of those ten games.
After a sleepy start to the ballgame with three straight scoreless innings, both teams woke up in the middle innings. Lehigh Valley (58-46) got on the board first in the bottom of the fourth. Johan Camargo walked with one out, bringing Donny Sands to the plate. He launched a high drive off the top of the 14-foot wall in right-center field, a double that allowed Camargo to score all the way from first to give the IronPigs a 1-0 lead. However, Sands was thrown out trying to stretch his double into a triple, making it two outs and nobody on base in the inning. The IronPigs just restarted their rally from there, as Josh Ockimey walked, Dalton Guthrie singled and Justin Williams walked to load the bases with two outs. Chris Sharpe then walked to the plate looking to do damage, but Tim Adleman fanned him on a 2-2 fastball to evacuate the inning without further damage. Adleman, the Mets starter on Saturday night, went four innings of one-run ball, allowing just three hits while striking out two batters and walking three.
In the top of the fifth, Syracuse (46-58) finally got to Lehigh Valley’s starter, Kent Emmanuel, after he mowed the Mets down in the first four innings. JT Riddle doubled leading off the inning, and after a Michael Perez strikeout, Riddle raced home on an RBI single from Tzu-Wei Lin to tie the game, 1-1. The inning wouldn’t end there as Lin advanced to third on a Dominic Smith lineout to right field and then came home when Emmanuel simply dropped the ball while he was in the stretch position on the mound. The balk allowed Lin to walk home and hand the Mets a 2-1 lead.
That lead wouldn’t last, as the IronPigs tied it right back up with a run in the bottom of the fifth. Will Toffey singled leading off the inning, and after a Scott Kingery strikeout, he advanced all the way to third on a Yairo Munoz one-out single. A curious circumstance then handed Lehigh Valley a tie game at two. With runners on first and third with one out, Michael Perez tried a back-pick throw to first base after a pitch to try and pick off the baserunner Munoz. His throw was poor, skittering away from the first baseman Smith and allowing Toffey to sprint home and tie the game, 2-2.
It remained a 2-2 game until the top of the seventh when Syracuse struck twice to take another lead, this time at 4-2. Lin walked leading off the inning and then stole his way to second with nobody out. Smith struck out, but Nick Plummer singled to move Lin to third with one out. Then, a wild pitch skittered all the way to the backstop, scored Lin and handed Syracuse a 3-2 lead. The Mets wouldn’t settle there, as a Nick Dini single later in the inning plated Plummer and made it a 4-2 lead for the road team, their largest of the game.
The lead was once again short-lived as Syracuse allowed one run in the bottom of the seventh and four fateful runs in the bottom of the eighth to cinch a Lehigh Valley comeback win. In the bottom of the seventh, the IronPigs got a run back when Yairo Munoz had a one-out single and scored on a two-out, RBI double from Donny Sands, trimming the Syracuse lead to one, 4-3. The two-bagger was the second different RBI double of the game for Sands.
In the eighth, the IronPigs completed their comeback with a four-run knockout punch. It all started when the first two batters, Dalton Guthrie and Justin Williams, reached via a hit by pitch and a single respectively. After a Chris Sharpe popout, Rafael Marchan was hit by a pitch to load up the bases with one out. Scott Kingery then drew a bases-loaded walk to knot up the game up, 4-4, which proceeded the game’s big, final blow. Yairo Munoz pounded a three-run double to center field that cleared the bases, made it 7-4, and effectively ended the game.
The Mets went down 1-2-3 at the plate in the top of the ninth to seal their Saturday night fate. Lehigh Valley has scored 15 combined runs between the seventh through tenth innings in the first five games of the series.
Syracuse wraps up its six-game series against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Sunday night. Left-hander Mike Montgomery is slated to start for the Mets opposed by left-hander Ricardo Sanchez for the IronPigs. First pitch is slated for 5:35 p.m.