Sean Smith took one for the team.
The Buffalo Bisons right-hander gave up nine runs (seven earned) on seven hits and five walks Saturday night in a 9-5 loss to the Syracuse Chiefs at Alliance Bank Stadium.
Smith (9-7) endured the shelling for five innings, however, and saved manager Torey Lovullo from exhausting his bullpen on the first game of an important 11-game road trip.
It was the opener of a four-game series between the International League North Division rivals.
After Ryan Mulhern's RBI single gave Buffalo the lead in the top of the first, the Chiefs went in front, 4-1, in the bottom half of the inning. The big hit was a two-run double by John-Ford GriffIn.
Kevin Barker singled home a run for Syracuse to make it 5-1 in the second but the Herd battled back.
Syracuse starter Gustavo Chacin, down from the parent Toronto Blue Jays on a rehab assignment, ran into trouble in the third. Trent Durrington led off with a single and Mulhern and Keith Ginter walked with two out to fill the bases and end Chacin's stint.
Andy Marte greeted reliever Jordan De Jong with a grand-slam on a 3-1 pitch to tie the game at 5.
The Herd, however, managed only one hit the rest of the way against De Jong (4-1) and three other Syracuse relievers. The Chiefs took the lead with four runs in the fourth, three crossing on Griffin's 21st homer of the season.
Right-hander Jeff Harris (5-6, 4.59) will get the start for Buffalo today against righty Mike MacDonald (3-7, 5.21) at 6 p.m. (Radio 1230, 1330 AM).