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IronPigs’ Cristopher Sánchez continues minors success in first start since MLB debut


Cristopher Sánchez has been impressive so far this season. (Cheryl Pursell)

Left-hander Cristopher Sánchez picked up right where he left off in terms of minor-league production.

In his first outing for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs since his major-league debut, the 24-year-old allowed just one run over 5 2/3 innings in a 2-1 win to split Saturday’s doubleheader against the Rochester Red Wings.

Sánchez struck out six Rochester hitters, surrendered five hits and walked two batters in the outing. Using a mix of fastballs, sliders and swing-and-miss changeups, Sánchez largely kept the Rochester lineup off-balance.

He threw 58 strikes out of 88 pitches, his highest pitch count of the season by far; his next highest total was 76 pitches on June 1 against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.

After cruising through five innings with minimal pressure, Sánchez ran into trouble for the first time in the top of the sixth. He entered the inning holding a 2-0 lead after Mickey Moniak’s RBI single in the first and Sal Gozzo’s RBI single in the fifth. After a quick flyout, Jake Noll hit a one-out double to right field.

The left-hander then induced a flyout to right field from Brandon Snyder, but Humberto Arteaga singled to center to drive Noll home for the Red Wings’ first run.

Sánchez was then pulled in favor of veteran right-hander Neftalí Feliz. Feliz struck out Blake Swihart to end the top of the sixth, and shut down Rochester 1-2-3 in the seventh to earn himself a save and secure a win for Sánchez.

Taking the second game of the doubleheader was important for the IronPigs, who lost 9-0 the game before after starter David Parkinson took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning. It brought Lehigh Valley’s record to 18-17 on the 2021 season.

For Sánchez, the victory marked his first in-game appearance since June 6, when he pitched in the majors for the first time. He threw 1 1/3 scoreless in a mop-up relief role as the Phillies topped the Washington Nationals 12-6. He was sent back down two days later.

Sánchez got that opportunity based on the way he had pitched for Lehigh Valley to begin the season, posting a 3.74 ERA in 21 2/3 Triple-A innings. His ERA in the minors now stands at 3.29. Despite the long layoff since his last minor-league game on June 1, the prospect continued what has proved to be an impressive stretch to begin the season.

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