Call Them 'The 1st Place IronPigs'

It took three full seasons and nine games, but for the first time in franchise history, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs are in first place all by themselves. Those front-runners come home to play a five-game set with Scranton on Monday.

For a team with a slow-starting offense, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs did okay for themselves Sunday, coming out on top of a 10-6 slugfest in Syracuse. The win - rain-shortened to eight innings - gave the 'Pigs a two-game sweep of Syracuse, their first ever sweep of any kind against the Sky Chiefs.

Starter Brian Bass struggled through four innings, allowing four earned runs and Juan Perez and Mike Stutes each surrendered a run in their two innings of work, but the offense had it all under control.

With Lehigh Valley down 5-2 heading to the seventh, the 'Pigs made it a one-run game on Delwyn Young's two-out, two-run pinch-hit home run. The next inning, Lehigh Valley put themselves well in front with six runs against the Syracuse bullpen.

Cory Sullivan led off the inning with a base-hit and Jeff Larish followed with his third home run of the season, launching one over the right field fence and putting Lehigh Valley ahead 6-5. A one-out walk to Brandon Moss, followed by a Josh Barfield RBI double extended the lead, but a walk to Dane Sardinha, coupled with Barfield's steal of third set up the 'Pigs for another run when pitcher Mike Stutes hit into a fielder's choice. A walk to Rich Thompson and RBI singles by Kevin Frandsen and Sullivan brought in two more runs made it 10-5.

Stutes would get tagged for a run in the bottom of the inning, but stopped the damage there with Lehigh Valley ahead 10-6.

Both teams sat through a lengthy rain delay after two outs in the top of the ninth before the umpiring crew deemed the field unplayable and stopped the game.

Lehigh Valley heads home for a showdown with Scranton Wilkes-Barre, who trail the 'Pigs by one game. The series starts with a double-header on Monday followed by single games the next three days.

International League - North Division

Team Aff W L W-L% GB
Lehigh Valley IronPigs PHI 5 3 .625 --
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees NYY 5 3 .625 --
Syracuse Chiefs WSN 5 4 .556 0.5
Buffalo Bisons NYM 4 5 .444 1.5
Pawtucket Red Sox BOS 4 5 .444 1.5
Rochester Red Wings MIN 3 6 .333 2.5

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