This is what you call giving yourself some breathing room.
The Buffalo Bisons were nervously sitting on a one-run lead over Syracuse at Alliance Bank Stadium Monday night before they put up four insurance runs in the ninth and went on to a 7-2 win over the Chiefs.
The Herd had lost the first two games of the four-game series which wraps up tonight at 7. Buffalo (58-49) trails the first-place Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (59-47) by 1 1/2 games in the International League's North Division standings.
Buffalo broke a 2-2 tie with a run in the eight inning when Asdrubal Cabrera scored from second on a two-out single by Ryan Mulhern.
Cabrera started at shortstop after reporting to the Bisons on Monday from the Double-A Akron Aeros where he was batting .310 and leading the Eastern League in runs (78) and was fourth in the league with 114 hits and 23 steals. Cabrera batted. 263 in 42 games with Buffalo last season.
The big hit in the Bisons' ninth-inning explosion was a two-run triple by Jason Cooper after an RBI double by Keith Ginter. The fourth run crossed on a sacrifice fly to center by Mike Rose.
A bases-loaded walk to Cooper in the first and a sacrifice fly by Ginter in the third, also with the bases full, gave Buffalo its first two runs.
Syracuse scored twice in the first, taking a 2-1 lead on a solo homer by veteran Chad Mottola. However Bisons starter Aaron Laffey and relievers Eric DuBose and Mike Koplove shut out the Chiefs on one hit -- a leadoff single in the sixth by Ray Olmedo -- the rest of the way.
Laffey pitched four innings, allowing two hits and a walk. Dubose (3-3) pitched shutout ball for four innings. Koplove gave up a leadoff walk in the Syracuse ninth but got out of the inning unscathed.
Syracuse had only three base runners against the three Buffalo pitchers after the first inning in losing for the eighth time in 13 games against the Bisons this season.
Neither team has named a starter for the series finale tonight. On Wednesday, the Bisons will begin a four-game series at Pawtucket.