Normally, a no-hitter tops the three-run homer but not last night in Phillies minor league action. It was a three-run homer by outfielder Jan Hernandez that was the difference in the Lehigh Valley’s 5-2 win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the second game to sweep a double-header yesterday.
Damon Jones could not have pitched better. He pitched six shutout, no-hit innings with the Threshers leading 2-0 before he was pulled. All he received for his effort was a no decision in the Clearwater Threshers 5- 2 loss to the Florida Fire Frogs to go 4-10 on the season.
Hernandez is having the best start of his seven-year Phillies minor league career. Still, he is only 24 years old. In his twelfth game of the season, he hit his fifth home run in only 50 at bats. He is second in the International league in homers and his 15 RBIs is second in the IL. Jan is one of the key reasons that the IronPigs are off to a 10-3 and the best record in the IL.
Jones still has not picked up a win in any of his three starts. The Threshers relief pitching has left much to be desired this season. The pen gave up five runs in the seventh inning of last night’s game.
Last night was actually Jones second no-hitter in three starts. He was yanked after three no-hit innings in his first start but he was charged with an unearned run. His pitch count had reached 73 in that game. His pitch count reached 76 before he was pulled after his six innings of “no-no”, seven strikeout baseball last night.
After his three starts, Jones is tied for the lead in the Florida State League with 23 strikeouts. He also leads the league in walks with 10. He has allowed only one earned run and batters are hitting only .116 against him in the 14 innings he has been allowed to pitch this season.
Two names to remember for April’s Hitter and Pitcher of the Month in the Phillies minor league system are Jan Hernandez and Damon Jones.