LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Louisville Bats (50-46) defeated the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (45-50) 7-4 after two big offensive innings to take a 2-1 in the four-game series Saturday night at Louisville Slugger Field.
It looked as if Lehigh Valley was going to get an easy win after taking a quick lead in the first inning when Darin Ruf brought in Leandro Castro to go up 1-0. Tyler Henson homered in the fifth inning to tack on two more for the IronPigs and an RBI single by Lars Davis scored Russ Canzler in the sixth to give them a 4-0 lead.
After giving up a leadoff single in the first, Lehigh Valley's left-handed pitcher Greg Smith went on to retire 15 straight Louisville batters. However, Smith ran into trouble in the sixth inning when Louisville's bats exploded thanks to a rally that began with a leadoff double from Bryan Anderson. Juan Silverio, Thomas Neal and Steve Selsky each drove in a run and Neal scored on an error by Castro in centerfield to make it a tied ballgame with four apiece.
Smith went five and two-third innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on six hits with six strikeouts. Tyler Knigge (1-2, 4.79) received the lost for the IronPigs.
The Bats took the lead for the first and final time of the game in the bottom of the eighth inning. Felix Perez plated Ruben Gotay and Neal with an RBI double. Perez then scored after a wild pitch by Lehigh Valley's reliever Hector Neris to put Louisville up 7-4. Earlier he extended his hitting streak to eight games.
Chien-Ming Wang made his 19th start of the season for Louisville. He pitched six innings allowing four earned runs on seven hits with a walk, strikeout and home run. Justin Freeman (2-1, 5.84) entered the game in the eighth and earned the win for the Bats.
With the win, Louisville moved to four games above .500 for the second time this year. The were previously 48-44 at the end of play on July 8.
The four-game series between the Bats and IronPigs will conclude tomorrow at 2:05 p.m. With a win, Louisville will secure a winning home series against Lehigh Valley for the first time since 2010. Louisville's lefty David Holmberg (0-4, 5.28) will look to earn his first win of the season against Lehigh Valley's right-hander Jason Marquis (0-0, 0.50)