The good news is the Bisons are starting to hit. Now they just need to do it with runners on base.
Buffalo dropped a 4-3 decision at home to Scranton Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday, bringing their record in the young season to 1-6. The win runs Scranton’s record to 7-0, the best start in franchise history. Scranton Wilkes-Barre will try for the series sweep tomorrow.
The Bisons got a solid outing from starter Dillon Gee, who went five innings and allowed just four hits. His two mistakes were both home runs, a first inning shot from ex-Bison John Rodriguez and another by Juan Miranda in the fourth.
Rodriguez’s blast came on a 3-2 count after what appeared to be a third strike. Gee didn’t get the call, and the next pitch was crushed over the right field fence. Gee would take the loss, dropping him to 0-2 on the year.
Buffalo started quickly as well, with consecutive singles from Cory Sullivan and Fernando Martinez in the first inning. However, back to back strikeouts killed the early rally, and the Bisons’ lack of hits with men on base would haunt them all day.
“We really didn’t hit with runners in scoring position early,” said Bisons manager Ken Oberkfell. “With the first two innings we had two men on in each inning but couldn’t get the big hit.”
Despite ten hits and drawing three walks, Buffalo struggled to turn those base runners into runs on the scoreboard. Buffalo went just 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position, leaving nine men on base.
“We’re swinging the bats better, but I think we’re just a little overanxious when we get runnings in scoring position,” Oberkfell said.
“Anytime you get a 2-0, 3-1 pitch and you swing, you should always hit that ball hard,” he added. “That’s not what happened (today).”
After a Robinson Cancel double scored Jonathan Malo, Yankees righty Ian Kennedy retired the next nine Bisons to finish off an impressive outing.
Kennedy pitched six strong innings, allowing just one earned run on five hits. He struck out five and walked two, good for his first win of the season. Kennedy threw 93 pitches, 63 for strikes.
However the Yankees bullpen was shaky in relief, giving the Bisons a chance to mount a comeback and putting Kennedy’s win in jeopardy. Anthony Claggett allowed four hits and two runs in the seventh, working into a bases loaded jam on three straight singles. Fernando Martinez then hit a two run single to bring Buffalo within a run, but that’s as close as they would come.
Brett Tomko took the mound for the Yankees in the 8th and worked a six out save, his second of the year. He allowed just one hit in that stretch, an eighth inning double to Jose Coronado. The Bisons would go quietly in the ninth, with Martinez striking out looking to end the game.
Buffalo’s final game of the series is tomorrow at 1:05pm, capping a seven game homestand to start the year. The Bisons will then hit the road for a weekend set in Syracuse against the Cheifs.