Updated: 06/26/2014 11:22 PM
Created: 06/26/2014 11:16 PM WHEC.com
Coca-Cola Park has been a house of horrors for Red Wings southpaw Kris Johnson over his tenure in the International League.
Thursday night he exorcized some of those demons tossing seven innings of one-run baseball but his offense gave him no support as the Lehigh Valley IronPigs shutout the Wings, 1-0, in Allentown, PA.
Johnson – who entered his start with a 10.36 ERA in eight career games at Coca-Cola Park – struck out a season-high nine while allowing just four hits (all singles) in suffering his fourth loss of the season. Johnson fell to 0-8 all-time in Allentown.
The southpaw did issue five walks – including a leadoff walk to Tyler Henson in the fourth inning that would prove costly.
Henson moved to second two batters later after another walk to Russ Canzler, before Maikel Franco ripped a ground ball to shortstop Doug Bernier. Bernier lunged to his right to make the stop but threw errantly to second allowing Henson to score from second for the lone run of the game.
The Wings (43-37) – who fell to 2-5 on their road trip – collected just two hits off a trio of IronPigs pitchers until mounting a ninth-inning rally off Luis Garcia, one of the best closers in the IL this season.
Chris Rahl singled to lead off the ninth before being erased trying to steal second base. After Eric Farris struck out for the second out, the Wings got back-to-back base hits from James Beresford and Deibinson Romero to put runners on first and second for Chris Colabello. The reigning IL MVP worked a nine-pitch at-bat before flying out to Henson in left to end the game.
Nate Hanson, just promoted to Lehigh Valley on Thursday morning, went 0-for-3 with a strikeout in his Red Wings season debut.
Right-handed reliever Lester Oliveros also made his Triple-A season debut Thursday, tossing a scoreless inning behind Johnson. Oliveros had a 0.89 ERA in 26 games for New Britain before being bumped up to the Red Wings on Wednesday.
The shutout was the sixth against the Red Wings this season and second at the hands of Lehigh Valley in the last two weeks.
The Wings wrap up the two-game set and eight-game road trip on Friday night when they send southpaw Sean Gilmartin (0-1, 3.00) to the mound to make his third Red Wings start. First pitch from Allentown is set for 7:05.