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Herd attack stymied by Knights' pitching

For the last few days, the attention has been on the Buffalo Bisons pitching rotation.

Tuesday night, the problem wasn't on the mound -- it was at the plate.

While Jeff Harris did a solid job making the start for the injured Adam Miller, the offense sputtered allowing Charlotte to take a 2-0 win in front of 13,690 Italian Festival Night fans at Dunn Tire Park.

It was only the third time this season the Herd was shut out.

The Knights took the early lead in the first inning. Jason Bourgeois had a one-out single, stole second and scored on a two-out single by former Bison Earl Snyder.

The Knights picked up an insurance run in the ninth off closer Edward Mujica. Bourgeois led off with a single and went to third on a long single by Danny Richar. Snyder's shot to short was misplayed by Hector Luna, allowing Bourgeois to score.

After Snyder's hit in the first inning, Harris retired the next 13 batters before allowing another hit to leadoff the sixth inning.

The 33-year-old right hander threw 100 pitches -- 63 for strikes -- in seven innings. He finished with five strikeouts and no walks.

Harris began this season as a starter for the Herd before moving into the bullpen. Four of his last five outings have been as a reliever, including two in Charlotte last week where he gave up 14 hits and 10 runs in 6 1/3 innings.

But with Miller shut down by Cleveland with tenderness in his elbow, Harris was called back into the rotation.

"I just hate to waste an effort like that," manager Torey Lovullo said. "The thing that's impressive about it is he pitched against [Charlotte] six days ago and they hit him around a little bit. He just stayed with it. He came out and executed the game plan and showed a lot of mental toughness.

"He's been a great starter for us all year long. He's been very consistent at getting us deep into ball games and we're very fortunate to have a guy like Jeff Harris. He's a swing guy. You can put him in the bullpen. You can plug him in anywhere but he wants to start."

Meanwhile, Buffalo's attack stalled a game after exploding for seven runs in the third inning of Monday's 7-1 win over Syracuse.

The Herd threatened in the sixth, when, with one out, Luis Rivas, Ryan Mulhern and Keith Ginter singled in succession to load the bases. But Andy Marte hit into a double play to end the inning.

The Bisons went down in order the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. In all, Buffalo had six hits and stranded six runners and Lovullo credited Charlotte starter Heath Phillips with keeping the Herd off base.

"I think Phillips has a history of getting guys out at this level," Lovullo said. "He's a quality pitcher and he made big pitches when he had to. With the bases loaded we had him on the ropes and he was vulnerable but he reached back and got a double play."

The loss kept the Bisons winless against Charlotte this year. The Knights swept the series in Charlotte last week -- the first time the Herd had been swept on the road since 1999. Dating back to last season, Buffalo is now just 1-12 against Charlotte.

The teams continue their series tonight (7 p.m., Radio 1230 & 1330) with lefty Jeremy Sowers (1-4, 4.74) scheduled to start for the Herd against righty Lance Broadway (5-5, 3.92).

e-mail: amoritz@buffnews.com

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Charlotte 2

Bisons 0

The pitch: Former Bison Snyder has an RBI single in the first inning. ... Harris gives up just one run on three hits with five strikeouts. ... The Bisons stranded six runners.

Fast fact: The Bisons are 0-5 against Charlotte this season and 1-12 against the Knights dating back to last season.

Next game: July 12, vs. Durham at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, 7:00 p.m.

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