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Owen puts bat away, turns in an efficient start

Dylan Owen notched a note in Bisons history by belting a home run Monday at Lehigh Valley, the first by a Buffalo pitcher since 1994. He was much more in his comfort zone Sunday afternoon.

Owen blanked the Rochester Red Wings for six innings before allowing a lone run in the seventh as the Herd cruised to an 8-2 win at Coca-Cola Field.

Given a chance in the rotation after opening the year with five relief appearances, Owen has put together a 1.54 earned-run average in his two starts.

Owen, 25, got through five innings in just 51 pitches and threw 78 pitches, 56 for strikes in seven innings. He struck out seven and walked none.

"The only word for Owen today is 'outstanding,' " said manager Wally Backman. "He was able to locate his fastball, get early contact and did a great job."

"I was just trying to be aggressive in the zone, finish through the catcher," Owen said. "It helped a lot in the first three innings I threw a lot of fastballs so later in the game I mixed my pitches."

Owen made 20 starts and five relief appearances for Buffalo last season, going 6-7 with a 4.26 earned-run average. He's happy to be a starter for the foreseeable future; he had a 3.87 ERA in the rotation last year.

"As long as I'm pitching, I'm excited," he said. "I feel like I have a little bit more of a starter mentality but I'm all right out of the bullpen, too. I just like having the ball in my hand."

Owen didn't bat Sunday with the designated hitter in use but he's still reveling in last week's blast, his first pro home run.

"My friends and family were calling me and they were like, 'I can't believe you hit a home run' and I was like, 'I know, I got lucky,' " he said. "I didn't know how to say it but I'd rather have somebody hitting for me. I just ran into one there."


The Bisons have won nine straight games at home against the Red Wings the last two years. Rochester, oddly enough, has lost 15 in a row at ballparks named for the soft drink giant, nine in Buffalo and six at Lehigh Valley's Coca-Cola Park.


Andres Torres rejoined the Mets after spending two games here on injury rehab. The Bisons are 5-2 against Rochester (their most wins thus far against an opponent). Overall, they are 4-1 on Sundays and 10-0 when leading after seven innings. The paid attendance was 5,711, with about 1,500 in the stands on a chilly, albeit sun-splashed, afternoon. Lefty Garrett Olson (0-1) gets the start for the Herd tonight.