The Buffalo Bisons needed some timely hitting. Nursing a 1-1 tie into the middle innings, the Herd kept getting runners on base but kept stranding them.
Then came Bobby Scales up to bat in the seventh inning. With two outs and runners on first and second, he belted a double to left center field to give the Herd the lead en route to a 4-1 win over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
It's nothing new for Scales, who leads the Herd in batting with a .436 average and in on-base percentage at .551. Consider that in all 11 games he's started for the Herd, the shortstop has reached base at least twice.
The method to his success sounds simple -- he has a plan every time he steps in the batter's box.
"I'm a big believer in having a plan when you go to the plate," Scales said. "They have a plan for you, the pitcher and the catcher, and as a hitter you have to have a plan. There are times when you execute the plan and you hit the ball hard and someone's standing there. There's going to be times when you execute your plan and you miss-hit a ball and you ground out or you pop up. We're not machines, but if you have a solid plan, you're a step in the right direction.
"Just to see it and swing approach has never been me, even going back to when I was a little kid. Some guys, if they have too much of a plan they have paralysis by analysis. I'm kind of in the middle. I'm not too analytical but I have an idea of what I'm trying to do, what I'm looking for and I just try to stay with that and fortunately early in the season it's been working out."
Lehigh Valley took a 1-0 lead in the first when Scott Podsednik walked, stole second, went to third on a groundout and scored on a passed ball by catcher Lucas May.
In the fourth, Scales drew a leadoff walk and tied the game by scoring from first on a one-out double by Zach Lutz.
Buffalo had its breakout inning in the seventh. With two out and one runner on, Jordany Valdespin singled. That set up Scales, who drove in the game-winner. Valentino Pascucci then hit a two-run single to add some breathing room for the Herd.
Starter Jeremy Hefner (2-1) allowed one run, which was unearned, in seven innings. He gave up four hits and one walk with three strikeouts -- a vast improvement from his last outing, in which he didn't last five innings. He had the second straight quality start from a Bison starting pitcher, a welcomed trend.
Justin Hampson picked up his first save, giving up no hits in two innings.
"If we pitched the way we've pitched the last two nights -- we're going to win a lot of baseball games," Bison manager Wally Backman said. "It's a matter of throwing first-pitch strikes and not walking guys. As long as we do that, we're going to be fine.
"[Hefner] had a real good ball game. In reality, he could have had a complete game tonight. His pitch count was at  and we definitely could have run him out there, but the way that [Lehigh Valley's] lineup was set up today with four left-handed hitters in a row, Hampson needed to pitch and it was a perfect situation for him."
The announced paid attendance was 4,468. Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson will throw out the first pitch at today's game. The homestand closes with the 1:05 p.m. game against Lehigh Valley. Lefty Garrett Olson (0-1, 1.74 ERA) is scheduled to start against righty Scott Elarton (1-0, 0.82 ERA).