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Eshelman returns to 2017 form

Tom Eshelman took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against Rochester, but the ‘Pigs couldn’t hold a 2-1 lead and lost 3-2. (Photo by Cheryl Pursell)

All season long, Tom Eshelman has been looking to get back to being the dominant pitcher that he was last season for Lehigh Valley. It finally happened against the Rochester Red Wings when Eshelman carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning. Unfortunately for Eshelman, Pedro Beato blew his first save attempt of the season and Lehigh Valley lost to Rochester 3-2 on a pair of ninth inning home runs.

Nick Gordon’s seventh inning leadoff single ended Eshelman’s no-hit bid. After Miguel Sano singled, Eshelman induced a double-play and a groundout to keep the shutout intact.

Eshelman allowed a home run to former Phillies prospect Willians Astudillo and a single to open the eighth and exited the game with a 2-1 lead. The 23-year old right-hander went a season-high seven innings and allowed four hits while striking out two and walking none. Eshelman retired 18 of the first 19 Red Wings he faced before allowing Gordon’s seventh inning single.

Eshelman is now 1-3, 5.73 in nine starts with Lehigh Valley this season. He had averaged just over five innings per start coming into his outing against Rochester, who hit him for six earned runs in 6 1/3 innings back on May 5th. This was the sixth time this season that a Pigs pitcher has gone seven innings in a start.

With one out and runners on second and third, reliever Yacksel Rios struck out the Wings’ top two hitters in the order to keep the Pigs up one.

The teams combined for one hit through three innings, but the Pigs broke through in the bottom of the fourth. Already with two home runs in the series, Trevor Plouffe belted an opposite field shot to give Lehigh Valley a 1-0 lead. The Pigs nearly added insurance in the inning on a two-out single by Dean Anna, but Logan Moore was cut down at the plate to end the inning.

The Pigs did get an insurance run in the seventh after Mitch Walding tripled off the center field wall and was brought home one batter later on a sacrifice fly by Joey Meneses.

In the ninth, the Pigs turned to Pedro Beato (0-1), who was 14-for-14 on save attempts this season. On a Good Shepherd Rehab appearance Miguel Sano homered to left field on Beato’s first pitch to tie it up. Two batters and two outs later, Astudillo went deep for the second time in as many innings to break the 2-2 tie and put Rochester ahead.

John Curtiss (2-0) tossed two scoreless innings and was able to strand the tying and winning runs on base in the ninth to end the Pigs’ five-game winning streak.

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