It really wasn't logical to expect the Lehigh Valley IronPigs to sweep the Columbus Clippers in the International League Championship Series. After all, Columbus had the best record in the league there was bound to be a hiccup here and there. On Wednesday night, the 'Pigs hiccupped in the late innings and Columbus sailed to a 4-1 win to even the series at one game a piece.
Nate Bump (0-1) was hanging on to a 1-0 lead that his team had handed him in the fifth inning and he had allowed just two hits through seven innings. All seemed to be okay until things turned bad quickly in the eighth inning. Juan Diaz dropped a base hit into short center field to open up the inning, but Bump quickly came back to dispose of Luke Carlin, who watched a called strike three sail past him for the first out of the inning. Argenis Reyes came up and drove a 2-2 pitch to the base of the wall in right field and suddenly, Columbus had two runners in scoring position, putting Lehigh Valley's slim 1-0 lead in jeopardy.
Manager Ryne Sandberg quickly went to reliable left-hander Mike Zagurski as the Clippers brought the top of their order to the plate. Jerad Head stepped out of the dugout to pinch-hit and the 'Pigs countered by intentionally walking him to load the bases. Travis Buck then lifted a soft fly ball to left field that was just deep enough to bring Diaz home from third to tie the game. Jared Goedert then hit a sharp ground ball that was stopped by shortstop Freddy Galvis, but Goedert legged it out for a base hit and Columbus again had the bases loaded. The next run would score on a wild pitch by Zagurski and Beau Mills would then single to drive in two more runs, giving the Clippers a relatively comfortable 4-1 lead.
Columbus starter Mitch Talbot (1-0) also cruised through the game, with a solo home run by Tagg Bozied being the only real blemish on his outing. Talbot came out to pitch the ninth and plowed through the heart of the IronPigs order - Kevin Frandsen, Brandon Moss and Domonic Brown - to complete the outing.
Frandsen, Moss and Rich Thompson each had two hits in the game, while Brown continued to struggle. In his new role as a DH, Brown is now 1-for-15 (.067) in the post-season for the IronPigs.
Games three and four - and five, if necessary - will be back at Coca-Cola Park. Thursday night's game three matchup puts right-hander Dave Bush (1-2, 3.91; 1-0, 1.35) against righty Joe Martinez (8-9, 4.04; 1-0, 2.25) for Columbus. With the series now basically a best-of-three matchup, Lehigh Valley has arguably their three top pitchers still to throw in the series. Left-hander Ryan Edell (5-5, 3.27; 0-0, 1.59) will pitch game four and Brian Bass (8-10, 3.81; 1-0, 0.00), who threw a complete game shutout against Pawtucket would be the starter in game five.