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Herd homestand gets off to dubious start

The Buffalo Bisons kicked off an eight-game homestand in disappointing fashion Saturday night with a 5-0 loss to the Norfolk Tides.

The Herd returned to Coca-Cola Field after a 4-4 road trip to Toledo and Columbus.

"It was OK. It wasn't bad," manager Wally Backman said of the road trip. "When you play .500 on the road, you're supposed to be good. I'm still a little disappointed," said manager Wally Bockman. "We had some rough games. But overall after losing the first two games on the road and then being able to win four out of the next six is a pretty good job for us."

Among the highlights for the Bisons was the offense of outfielder Fred Lewis. He averaged .423 (11 for 26) with five doubles, a triple, two runs batted in and six walks.

Lewis leads the Bisons with 11 doubles and 11 stolen bases.

"Freddy's been very consistent for us," Backman said. "He's done everything that's been asked of him. He's done a great job. He did great in the two-hole. I moved him to the three-hole because he's been our most consistent guy. That's where he'll stay for the time being. I like him in the two-hole because of his speed, but right now he's really our best hitter."

On Saturday, Lewis saw his seven-game hitting streak end as he went 0 for 4.

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The Bisons roster continues to be retooled. On the trip, the Herd lost starting pitcher Chris Schwinden, who didn't clear waivers and was picked up by Toronto then by Cleveland.

There was a danger the Herd could have lost Josh Satin the same way but he cleared waivers and accepted his assignment by the New York Mets back to Buffalo. He started at first base on Saturday.

Backman, however, is pleased with the way his team has dealt with the losses.

In the latest Herd transactions, righty Pedro Beato was optioned by the Mets. He took the mound in the eighth for the Herd and pitched two scoreless innings with three strikeouts.

To make room on the roster, righty Edgar Ramirez was transferred to Double-A Binghamton and catcher Jean-Luc Blaquiere was transferred to Single-A Brooklyn.

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Saturday's attendance was 15,513 -- the largest crowd this year and the largest in the five-year history of Star Wars Night at the ballpark. The homestand continues today (Radio 1520, 1 p.m.) with righty Dylan Owen (3-3, 5.32) scheduled to start for the Herd against lefty Zach Britton (1-0, 6.00).

email: amoritz@buffnews.com