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Pigs kick off season

The IronPigs started their season in a weird way as the team battled from behind in the ninth inning of their opening game only to see a walk-off grand slam turn into a walk-off three-run home run. The next day, Lehigh Valley had two runners thrown out at the plate before a wild pitch and a throwing error in the ninth cost them the game. Sunday’s game was a loss, but played out pretty normally, although their starting pitcher was making his first start at Triple-A since 2016.

The grand slam became a three-run home run when Aramis Garcia, who apparently thought the ball went off the wall and the winning run had already scored, made a U-turn at third base, and went to join what he thought would be a celebration. The runner behind him, Matt Kroon, then passed him, which negated Garcia’s run even though he did eventually touch home plate.

Saturday’s ugliness started with a bases loaded wild pitch by reliever Austin Brice and later, Simon Muzziotti launched a throw to the plate that got away from catcher Jose Godoy and the result was a 5-2 loss.

On Sunday, David Buchanan, who came up through the Phillies minor league system, pitched in the majors for the Phillies and then exited to play baseball in Japan and Korea after his career stalled slightly, made his return to the states official. Buchanan, 34, was hit for five earned runs in four innings of work before exiting. The IronPigs lost Sunday’s game 6-2.

READY, WILLING, AND… Mick Abel was added to the IronPigs roster Saturday. It was expected that Abel would spend a week or two in Florida after suffering some illness and stiffness during spring training. Manager Anthony Contreras did not announce when Abel will make his debut on the mound this season, but it will likely be this week in Rochester.

EARLY RISERS… Kody Clemens is off to a strong start for Lehigh Valley with a .333 (4-for-12) average and he delivered a two-run home run in Saturday’s game against Worcester. Darick Hall is batting .300 (3-for-10) and Jordan Luplow is hitting .286 (2-for-7) with a pair of doubles and two RBI.

BAD DAY… Home plate umpire Emil Jimenez was a little off on his balls and strikes calling on Saturday. The game was played using the challenge system that allows the batter, catcher, and pitcher to immediately challenge a call by the home plate umpire. Jimenez was overruled on six of the eight challenges he faced. To be fair, a couple of the pitches were shown to be either just on or just off the plate.

BROWN DELIVERS… Dominic Brown threw out the first pitch prior to Saturday’s game. The former IronPigs and Phillies outfielder is currently working as a coach at Athletes Academy near Philadelphia and coaching a 16-and-under team that is ranked first in the state of PA.