Andres Blanco broke a 6-6 tie with a walk off solo home run in the 13th inning sending the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs to a 7-6 win over the Louisville Bats Monday night. The Iron Pigs denied the Bats (15-31) their first three game winning streak of the season to remain one game out of first in the International League North Division.
Kristopher Negron got the wild night started immediately as he led off the game with his fourth homer of the season.
Lehigh Valley then responded in the third innings with a five spot. Dominic Brown’s RBI double tied the game at a run apiece and Erik Kratz’s two-RBI single made it 3-1 in favor of the Pigs. Kratz was thrown out at second trying to stretch his hit into a double and it seemed like Bats starter Chad Reineke would get out of the inning with no further damage.
But a double to Steve Susdorf followed by Cody Overbeck’s third home run of the season put the Iron Pigs up 5-1.Kevin Frandsen, who went 5-for-6 in the game, added to the lead in the fourth with an RBI single.
The Bats were not done yet. In the fifth, Neftali Soto’s two-RBI, bases loaded single cut the lead to 6-3. The next batter, Danny Dorn, crushed his sixth homer of the year to tie the game at 6.
After going 1-for-21 in his previous seven games, Soto has found his stroke in Lehigh Valley, going a combined 5-for-15 with nine RBI, including a grand slam Sunday, in the series.
The two teams were stymied by each other’s bullpen the rest of the way until Blanco’s winning blast. The Bats had the go-ahead run in scoring position in three of the final eight innings but could not push a run across. The Iron Pigs had the best chance of the game in the eighth with runners at the corners with one out but Susdorf out at home on a slow ground ball to preserve the tie.
The Bats’ bullpen was stellar. Scott Carroll (2-1/3 IP), Carlos Fisher (2/3 IP), Kanekoa Texiera (2 IP), Nick Christiani (1 IP), and Josh Judy (2 IP) combined to go eight shutout innings giving up just five hits and striking out eight. Judy fanned four of the eight batters he faced in the 11th and 12th innings.
It’s a very quick turnaround for both teams. After a four hour and 35 minute affair that ended at 11:40 P.M. last night, the two teams will play the final of their four game series at 10:35 A.M. Tuesday. Brett Tomko (0-4, 3.48 ERA) will look to pick up his first win of the season for the Bats. He will be opposed by Dave Bush (3-3, 3.30 ERA) of the Iron Pigs. If the Bats win, it will be just their second series victory of the season and first since April 13-16 against Columbus.