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Bisons ponder error of their ways; Sloppy defense proves costly

The entire International League has the day off today. For the Buffalo Bisons, it couldn't come at a better time.

The Herd have been out of rhythm and out of sorts in their last three games at Coca-Cola Field. The latest hiccup came in a 6-3 loss to the Indianapolis Indians in front of 5,408. It was the third straight loss for the Bisons, but the way in which they are faltering is what is most frustrating.

In the four-game series, the Bisons committed 12 errors while the Indians had none. Consider too that Indianapolis scored 24 runs (seven unearned) in the series after plating just one run in its previous six outings.

The defense, which had been solid for Buffalo, has cost the team games. And right now the Bisons can't quite put their finger on the reason for the sudden problem.

"We made too many mistakes," said third baseman Matt Tuiasosopo who had three hits and an RBI Tuesday. "Errors are going to happen. I don't know why it happened. It was tough defensively. As a unit we all work hard together. We push each other in our workouts. We've been playing well defensively the whole year. [The 12 errors in the series is] just unacceptable. We'll have a day off to regroup and come back."

"The defense has been very solid until this series," manager Wally Backman said. "It's something, maybe they're a little tired, but it's pretty early in the season and it's not really hot here so it's tough to make an excuse for it. Everybody's playing the same out there. We've just got to sharpen up out there."

In Tuesday's game, the Herd made three errors as the defense did Chris Schwinden no favors after he had a disastrous travel experience returning to Buffalo.

Schwinden had been promoted by the New York Mets while the team was in Toronto. He made the trip to Pittsburgh with the Mets but was optioned back to Buffalo on Monday.

The Mets' travel arrangements put Schwinden on a plane to New York City Monday afternoon. His flight to Buffalo was delayed and then canceled. Then the car service hired to drive him from New York to Buffalo had mechanical breakdowns.

Schwinden ended up spending the night in Binghamton and driving to Buffalo Tuesday morning.

In the first inning with runners on second and third and two out he threw a wild pitch, which scored one run. But catcher Jean Luc Blaquiere's poor throw back to Schwinden at the plate allowed another run to score.

Schwinden (3-3) took the loss but only two of the four runs on his watch were earned as he gave up six hits in four innings of work.

"Schwinden today was very tired," Backman said. "I know he had the trip from hell basically. No excuses but that's a tough way to come into the ballpark and have to pitch the same day. He fought through it the best he could today and again, it goes back to the defense. We've got to be better defensively."

The Herd had plenty of opportunities on offense, including loading the bases with one out in the seventh. But the team stranded 10 and went just 2 for 15 with runners in scoring position. The team hit into three double plays.

Buffalo returns to action Thursday (7:05 p.m., Radio 1520 AM) in Coca-Cola Field when the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees come to town.