He was terse with his answers and his focus was pretty singular.
Anthony Gose wants to show that he can play for the Toronto Blue Jays. And he wants to hit fastballs.
Whatever his motivation, he was successful for the Buffalo Bisons on Opening Day. Batting in the leadoff spot, he went 2-for-4, drew a walk and scored two runs for the Herd in their 6-3 win over Rochester at Coca-Cola Field Thursday.
“I’m here to prove to the people in the front office I can play in the big leagues every day,” Gose said. “The Blue Jays have a leadoff hitter right now. I’m just here to do what I have to do to show them I can play in the big leagues. ... I’m just trying to be aggressive, go up there, get a fastball and hit it.”
Gose scored a key run in the second inning when he led off with a double and moved to third on a ground out from Kevin Pillar.
A popup from Matt Tuiasosopo got caught up in the wind and with an infield miscommunication dropped in near third base. Gose was astute and used his speed to take off home, coaxing a throwing error by Rochester shortstop Danny Santana. The run gave the Herd a 5-2 lead and opened up some breathing room.
He scored again in the sixth inning, thanks to another hit from Tuiasosopo, to help the Herd generate late offense.
The one glaring glitch came in the first inning. He drew a walk to get on base but was immediately thrown out trying to steal second.
“I’d like to see him be a little more patient though with the base stealing there,” Bisons manager Gary Allenson said. “To get on base leading off the bottom of the first and going right away, I mean you’ve got to be a little more patient with that. Work the guy. ... Be a little more patient. Wait him out and pick your spots. But he’s an exciting player.”
With starter Marcus Stroman on a pitch count, Allenson had planned to use fifth-day starter Liam Hendricks for a few of the middle innings. He piggybacked Stroman in the start and blanked the Red Wings in the fifth and sixth innings with one strikeout to pick up the win.
Rochester created the beginnings of a rally in the eighth with John Stilson on the mound. He gave up two walks, a wild pitch and a hit and run. That cut the Bisons’ lead to 6-3 with runners on first and third with two outs.
That’s when closer Neil Wagner came on, getting a strikeout to end the threat. He then struck out two in the ninth to pick up the save.
“That’s some pretty good stuff right there,” Allenson said. “You know Stilson has similar stuff. He just was a little bit too amped up today and it was one of them days. But we were kinda letting them back in the game. To come in there and stop all the momentum they had with it really being one hit away from being a tight ball game, Wagner just shut it down.”
Last year Allenson managed the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats. So he knows what cold-weather baseball is all about.
Thursday’s Opening Day temperature at first pitch was 42 degrees – not bad for Buffalo in early April. And Allenson, well, he was toasty warm coaching third.
“My wife bought me a new pair of Cabelo underarmors and they were sweet today,” Allenson said. “I don’t know if you guys have them, but I wasn’t cold one bit. I didn’t put gloves on the whole game. That kind of surprised me.”
Stroman said the cold didn’t bother him on the mound.
“You don’t even feel the weather when you’re out there,” Stroman said. “I grew up on Long Island, so in high school we used to play in snow and all that. I’m pretty fine with that.”
This ties the record for the earliest Opening Day at Coca-Cola Field. The Bisons opened at home on April 3, 2003. That game was played in 29 degrees with sleet. The Herd won that one, 10-8, over Pawtucket. ... This is the third consecutive Opening Day win for the Bisons. ... The two-game opening homestand is scheduled to continue at 2 p.m. today against Rochester, although the forecast calls for rain all day.