(bisons.com)-Bisons' phenom right-hander Marcus Stroman stuck out Lehigh Valley second baseman Tyler Henson in the fifth inning and Henson ripped off his helmet, whipped it towards the IronPigs' dugout in disgust. It was Henson's third-straight strikeout against Stroman. However, Lehigh Valley's Jim Murphy had a much more pleasant time with the Blue Jays' top-rated prospect -- sending 2-0 fastball over the wall in left center for a three-run homer in the fourth.
Murphy's three-run dinger spoiled another quality start for Stroman and proved to be the difference in the Bisons falling to Lehigh Valley, 3-2, at Coca Cola Field on Tuesday afternoon.
"It just felt good to get back out there in the starters role. I feel like it was actually one of my better pitches" Stroman said of the 2-0 pitch to Murphy. "It was kind of up in the zone a little bit, just kind of getting back to my mechanics -- just an easy adjustment for next game. If you get behind guys, they tend to hurt you."
Stroman pitched six no-hit innings in his last outing with the Bisons against Louisville on April 29., before getting called up to the Blue Jays. With Toronto, Stroman went 1-0 with a 12.79 ERA in five relief appearances with the Jays. Stroman tossed two easy, 1-2-3 innings to start the game on Tuesday. The right-hander threw just eight pitches in the first inning and 10 in the in the second. In five innings pitched, Stroman allowed three runs on five hits, while striking out five and walking one.
"He was up in the zone and got away with it a little bit," Bisons' manager Gary Allenson said. "There was probably too many outs in the air. He's going to get some swings down here where he doesn't get hurt on balls that are thigh-high or above the belt."
With one out in the third, Stroman allowed his first hit in his last nine innings in Triple-A, dating back to an outing against Pawtucket on April 21. IronPigs' Leandro Castro and Andrew Blanco hit back-to-back singles, before Stroman settled back in to strike out Tyson Gillies and Henson to end the inning. Murphy's homer in the fourth gave Lehigh Valley a 3-2 lead after the Bisons took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third with an RBI double by Munenori Kawasaki and an RBI fielder's choice by Jared Goedert.
Lehigh Valley pitcher Ken Giles walked Brad Glenn and Matt Tuiasosopo to open the ninth inning and Brett Carroll moved the tying and winning run into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Jack Murphy smacked a 1-2 pitch down the line for a potential walkoff homer, but the ball hooked foul and Murphy struck out on the next pitch to end the game.
"I didn't think it had a chance at going foul when it came off his bat," Allenson said," but apparently it hooked a lot. The ball was hit very hard, but that's why they have foul poles out there."
The two runs the Bisons pushed across in third would be the only runs that they would manufacture in the ballgame. The Herd mustered just two hits and five baserunners from the third inning on.
"You have to tip your hat to the other teams pitcher sometimes,"Allenson said. "That lefty (Cesar Jimenez) that came in for them in the sixth and the seventh there, he came in and got the save in the first night. We didn't do much off of him, he did a good job coming in on right-handed hitters and kind of locking them up a little bit and mixed his pitches pretty well."
Glenn, a bright spot for Bisons offensively went 2-for-3. Austin Bibens-Dirkx came on in relief of Stroman and pitched three scoreless innings before handing the ball to Bobby Korecky to pitch the ninth.
The Bisons will travel to Louisville for the start of eight-game road trip. Right-hander Kyle Drabek is scheduled to pitch on Thursday.