MOOSIC — Scranton/Wilkes-Barre catcher Chad Moeller spent most of last season in the Cincinnati Reds organization, so he knew all about Homer Bailey long before the 21-year-old started against the Yankees on Tuesday.
Not that it helped him very much.
Moeller was one of four Yankees who struck out at least twice as the Louisville pitching staff — led by its ace prospect — shut down and shut out the Yankees in a 1-0 Bats win at PNC Field.
Bailey did most of the damage. Pitching 5? scoreless innings, baseball’s No. 9 prospect according to Baseball America allowed just four hits and one walk while striking out seven.
Of the four hits, two were infield singles and another was a dribbler that found a hole just past the second baseman.
“I caught him some last year and that’s the best I’ve seen him,” Moeller said. “Command, velocity, his fastball was kind of cutting across the strike zone. That was a different pitcher than I saw last year.”
Even when Bailey was out of the game, the Bats bullpen kept rolling through the Yankees lineup.
Lefty Bill Bray faced five batters and struck out three of them before Jim Brower, the Yankees closer last season, danced out of trouble in the eighth and ninth to pick up his first save. Brower also struck out three.
“They all threw the ball well,” Moeller said. “And stuck it to us.”
The best chances for the Yankees came in the last two innings off Brower.
In the eighth, Bernie Castro led off with a walk. Justin Christian, though, couldn’t get a sacrifice bunt down and wound up striking out on a fouled bunt for strike three. After the strikeout, Castro tried to steal second and was thrown out. Greg Porter flied out to end the inning.
Ninth inning, the Yankees got a one-out walk from Juan Miranda, followed by a single to put runners at first and second. Eric Duncan, though, struck out looking and Nick Green struck out swinging to end it.
“Any time you have a chance to tie it in the bottom of the ninth you’re right where you need to be,” Yankees manager Dave Miley said. “But we couldn’t get the big hit.”
Other than the last two innings, the only time the Yankees had a runner on base with less than two outs was the first inning, when Christian reached on an infield single only to be eliminated on a double play.
That lack of production saddled Yankees starter Kei Igawa with the loss, despite the fact he allowed just one run.
It came in the first inning when Jay Bruce doubled in Jerry Hairston Jr. Igawa, though, went on to strand runners at the corners that inning before a caught stealing helped Igawa wiggle out of a two-on, one-out jam in the second. Igawa stranded runners again in the third and fourth but, having already thrown 74 pitches, Igawa, was out of the game at the start of the fifth inning.
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