It took the International League four innings to even get a hit, but at the
end of the game, all that mattered was that they had strung together a couple of
hits to take a 2-1 win over the Pacific Coast League in the Triple-A All-Star
Game in Allentown, PA.
The Pacific Coast League got things started in the second inning when Matt Miller (Colorado Springs/Rockies) picked up a two-out infield single that seemed
innocent enough until Mark Trumbo (Salt Lake/Angels) walked and Darwin Barney
(Iowa/Cubs) followed immediately with an RBI single that put the PCL up 1-0.
Pitchers Thomas Diamond (Iowa/Cubs), Clayton Mortensen (Sacramento/A's) and
Michael Kirkman (Oklahoma City/Rangers) shut down the IL offense through the
first four innings, allowing just one baserunner on a walk.
It made for a great scenario when hometown hero Andy Tracy (Lehigh
Valley/Phillies) opened up the fifth inning with a single up the middle on the
first pitch that he saw from Brandon Dickson (Memphis/Cardinals), but after
Dickson uncorked a wild pitch, he settled in to get the next three hitters. The
following inning Josh Banks (Round Rock/Astros) wasn't so lucky and was in
trouble from the very start of the inning. Chris Valaika (Louisville/Reds) led
off with a double to left field and one out later, Chase Lambin
(Syracuse/Nationals) delivered another double to tie the game. Pinch-hitter
Elliott Johnson (Durham/Rays) singled to give the International League a 2-1
After that, the pitchers got back to dominating and the International League
started going through their list of closers to finish out the game. With four
pitchers who have 15 or more saves on the season, manager Charlie Montoyo
(Durham/Rays) just sat back and went through his bullpen to lock down the win,
finishing it off with Jonathan Albaladejo (SWB/Yankees), who leads all of
professional baseball with 29 saves on the season. Albaladejo picked up the
save, but the locals were a little distraught that their closer, Scott Mathieson
(Lehigh Valley/Phillies) didn't get to pitch in the game.
"It actually worked out how we had hoped and that doesn't always
happen," said Montoyo. "I would have liked to get Scottie [Mathieson]
into the game for the home fans, but it just didn't work out."
Anthony Slama (Rochester/Twins) threw one inning and picked up the win, while
Banks took the loss.
Lambin was named the Player of the Game based on the fact that he was
connected to both runs that the IL scored, driving in the first run and scoring
the second. "That just topped it off," said Lambin after the game.
"It was a great thing just to be here, but then to play a role in the game,
made it special." Of course, Lambin didn't have as good of a night as a
couple of his teammates.
Indianapolis (Pirates) catcher Erik Kratz came out of the game in the fourth
inning and was told that the Pirates were calling him up to join the club on
Thursday. His manager, Frank Kremblas, was coaching with the International
League team and knew for a few days that Kratz was getting his first call to the
majors. "That's just a little wicked," laughed Kratz, who said he had
gotten no idea from Kremblas that he was headed for the majors. The 30 year-old
Kratz is in his ninth minor league season and said even the fact that the
Pirates had optioned Jason Jaramillo to Indianapolis didn't make him truly
believe that he would get the call. "No, it's happened before where
somebody got sent down or hurt or something and it seemed like I might be the
one going up, but I figured that if I hadn't heard anything by now, it wasn't
going to happen."
Earlier in the game Michael Dunn (Gwinnett/Braves) got word that he was
headed to the majors. "I'm obviously pretty psyched," said Dunn.
"To be here and find that out and then get into the game and pitch, was
great." Unlike Kratz, this isn't Dunn's first trip to the majors; he
pitched in four games with the Yankees last season.
In the other clubhouse, pitcher Chris Seddon (Tacoma/Mariners) also found out
during the game that he was headed for the majors. Seddon has pitched in the
majors with the Marlins, but hasn't been there since 2007 when he pitched in
seven games. Ernesto Frieri (Portland/Padres) was told on Tuesday that he was
headed for San Diego. "I'm happy about it. I can't wait until tomorrow to
get to San Diego and spend some time over there with that bullpen that has been
magnificent," said Frieri. It will be Frieri's second trip to the majors,
having pitched in two games last season.