Photo by Cheryl Pursell

Lehigh Valley moves to within one win of clinching their second-ever IL playoff spot

Lehigh Valley's win over Pawtucket Wednesday night moved them to within one win of a playoff spot in the International League. Their final five games are against Rochester, the only team capable of catching the IronPigs.

AAA - Lehigh Valley 4, Pawtucket [Red Sox] 3

WP: David Buchanan (9-9), LP: Henry Owens (9-7), SV: Luis Garcia (13)

HR: Pawtucket - none; Lehigh Valley - Andrew Knapp (8)

Hitting Recap: Darnell Sweeney came through with a big two-run, two-out double for Lehigh Valley and Andrew Knapp homered for the first time since June 5th, a period of 237 at-bats. Knapp's home run came in the sixth inning, after he had struck out in his first two at-bats against Pawtucket starter Henry Owens... Darin Ruf took an 0-for-4, stopping his career-high hitting streak at 16 games. During the streak, Ruf hit .397 with five home runs, 15 RBI and four doubles.

Pitching Recap: It wasn't pretty, but David Buchanan worked through seven innings, giving up three runs - two earned - to get the win and even his record at 9-9. Buchanan gave up seven hits in the game and was in trouble early, but was able to get a key shutdown inning in the top of the seventh after Knapp's home run put Lehigh Valley up 4-3... Joely Rodriguez allowed a hit in his one inning of work, but erased the runner with a double-play ball. Luis Garcia pitched a perfect ninth, striking out two hitters to notch his 13th save of the year.

IronPigs Notes: Lehigh Valley ends the season with five games against Rochester, their only competitor for the wild card. The first two of the five games are in Rochester Thursday and Friday before the two teams end the season back at Lehigh Valley with three games starting Saturday. One win in the five games for Lehigh Valley would clinch the wild card. Meanwhile, the 'Pigs need Scranton to lose all five of their remaining games, while Lehigh Valley would win all five of theirs in order to win the division. If the two teams tie, the RailRiders would be division champs based on having won nine of the 16 games the two teams played this season.

AA - Reading 14, Portland [Red Sox] 6

WP: Tom Eshelman (5-5), LP: Keith Couch (9-5), SV: none

HR: Portland - none; Reading - Dylan Cozens (38), Scott Kingery (2), Jorge Alfaro (15), Osmel Aguila (5), Christian Marrero (8)

Hitting Recap: Dylan Cozens has struggled lately, but came up big Wednesday night with his 38th home run of the season, tying Darin Ruf's Reading season record of 38 from 2012. Cozens also drove in four runs to give him 120 on the season, which ties the season-high for a Reading player, set by Greg Luzinski in 1970... Osmel Aguila and Christian Marrero hit back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning to put the Fightins up 11-2... Jorge Alfaro finished the game with four hits, including a double and a home run.

Pitching Recap: Tom Eshelman gave Reading six innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits. Eshelman didn't walk a batter and struck out four hitters in the game before turning things over to the Reading bullpen. Joey DeNato and Gregory Infante both struggled in their inning of work, combining to allow four hits and walking four batters, while allowing four runs, three earned... Jesen Therrien restored some order in the ninth, allowing one hit, but giving Reading a scoreless inning to take the win.

Fightin Phils Notes: Reading filed their magic number down to three, thanks to a Trenton loss against New Hampshire... Reading hitters combined for 17 hits, eight of which were for extra bases, including five home runs... Aguila was just activated from the DL with Lehigh Valley on Tuesday and immediately was reassigned to Reading... Catcher Joel Fisher went on the DL with "turf toe".

High-A - Clearwater (rain out)

The Threshers are two games behind Dunedin for the second-half division crown. The two teams play their final four games of the season against each other, with Thursday and Sunday's games at Dunedin and Friday and Saturday scheduled for Clearwater. Rain washed out all but two games Wednesday and could play a factor in the final stretch of regular season games.

Threshers Notes: RHP Drew Anderson was placed on the DL Wednesday.

Low-A - Kannapolis [White Sox] 6, Lakewood 1

WP: Brannon Easterling (7-3), LP: Tyler Gilbert (7-9), SV: none

HR: none

Hitting Recap: Deivi Grullon drove in the only run of the game for Lakewood with an RBI single in the ninth... Carlos Duran and Damek Tomscha each had two hits for the BlueClaws, who collected just six on the night... Mark Laird saw his hitting streak end at 12 games when he went 0-for-4 on the night.

Pitching Recap: Not a good night for Tyler Gilbert who was punched for six runs on six hits with a walk and two strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings of work... Edgar Garcia threw 3 1/3 shutout inning of relief, giving up three hits and two walks, while striking out three... Zach Morris and Jacob Waguespack were perfect in their one inning each of work, cmbining to strike out three batters.

BlueClaws Notes: Lakewood got some help from their friends in Charleston, who beat Hagerstown to lower the 'Claws magic number to three, leaving Lakewood up by three games with five games to play in the regular season... Lakewood finished 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position... Morris was just activated from the DL on Tuesday.

Short Season-A - Williamsport 4, Mahoning Valley [Indians] 2

WP: Cole Irvin (5-1), LP: Alsis Herrera (0-1), SV: tyler Hallead (2)

HR: Mahoning Valley - none; Williamsport - Darick Hall (7)

Hitting Recap: Jesus Alastre had himself a game out of the leadoff spot for Williamsport. Alastre finished a home run shy of hitting for the cycle and he scored two runs in the game. The 19-year old outfielder also stole two bases, giving him 13 swipes on the season.

Pitching Recap: Cole Irvin allowed two runs - one earned - while allowing two hits, a walk and striking out five over six innings of work to record his fifth win and lower his ERA to 1.97 on the year with Williamsport... Tyler Hallead covered the final three innings, allowing two hits and no walks, with one strikeout, to record his second save of the season.

Crosscutters Notes: Catcher Gregori Rivero was reassigned to Clearwater... Williamsport has been eliminated from playoff contention in the New York-Penn League... The Crosscutters finish the season with three games in Batavia, one in State College and a season finale at home against State College on Monday.

Rookie League - GCL Phillies (rain out)

The GCL Phillies game against the Blue Jays was rained out Wednesday and their game against the Blue Jays scheduled for Thursday has already been cancelled because of rains hitting the state of Florida.

Philly Baseball Insider Top Stories