PAWTUCKET — Slowly and surely the Buffalo Bisons are falling out of playoff contention in the International League.
Not only did the Herd lose, 3-0, to the Pawtucket Red Sox before 7,976 at McCoy Stadium on Monday night, their closest rivals for a playoff spot all won.
Buffalo (67-63) fell 4½ games behind first-place Rochester (72-59) in the North Division standings. More important, Buffalo is now two games in back of Pawtucket (69-60) and one behind Norfolk (69-62) in the wild-card standings and tied with Lehigh Valley (67-63).
The Bisons managed just three hits in suffering their 10th shutout loss of the season. Clint Robinson singled in the fourth inning against winning pitcher Clayton Mortensen (3-0), A.J. Jimenez doubled in the eighth and Brad Glenn singled in the ninth for the only Buffalo hits.
Buffalo left the bases loaded in the eighth, its only real threat.
Losing pitcher Kyle Drabek (1-1), making his first start for the Bisons, retired the first seven batters he faced. He almost had the eighth, too, but his wild pitch on a third strike allowed Jeremy Hazelbaker to reach in the third inning. Hazelbaker stole second and scored on a single by Heiker Meneses for the only run the PawSox needed, as it turned out.
Dan Butler reached Drabek for a leadoff homer, his 14th, in the fourth to make it 2-0.
The Bisons and Red Sox will complete their season series tonight (Radio 1520, 7:05 p.m.), with Drew Hutchinson (0-1, 10.80) due to start for the Herd. After a day off Wednesday, the Bisons will open a four-game home series against Lehigh Valley on Thursday night.