ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Ace closer Neil Wagner was called up to Toronto, but the Buffalo Bisons bullpen didn’t seem to miss him a bit Wednesday night at Coca-Cola Park.
Buffalo relievers pitched seven scoreless innings as the Herd won an 11-inning, 3-hour, 55-minute marathon over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 5-3.
Buffalo (4-1) suffered its first loss of the season in the second game when the IronPigs scored an unearned run in the third inning for a 1-0 victory. The run scored on a passed ball.
It wasted a strong pitching performance by right-hander Marcus Stroman, who allowed only three hits and struck out eight in pitching all six innings. Stroman walked five.
Steve Tolleson doubled home two runs in the top of the 11th inning of the opener to put the Herd in front to stay. Then Rob Rasmussen pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the 11th for his first save. Reid Brignac flied out to center to end it.
A three-run fourth inning, highlighted by a two-run single by Chris Getz, put the Bisons in front, 3-2. The IronPigs tied it with a single run in the bottom half of the inning when Brignac led off with a walk and eventually scored on a single by Tyler Henson.
Clete Thomas led off the Lehigh Valley first with a home run to center to make it 1-0.
Each side had chances to score after the fourth. Buffalo stranded runners in scoring position in the fifth, sixth and seventh and left the bases loaded in the 10th. The IronPigs left the bases full in the 10th.
Among them, Bisons relievers Chad Jenkins, Robby Korecky (2-0) and Rasmussen allowed no runs and four hits over seven innings. Combined they walked five, however, while striking out eight.
The Bisons open a four-game home series against Pawtucket tonight (Radio 1520, 6:05 p.m.) with left-hander J.A. Happ due to start for the Herd against Rubby De La Rosa (1-0, 0.00). Happ is down on a major-league rehab assignment from Toronto. Kyle Drabek (0-0) and Liam Hendriks (1-0) are the Bisons other scheduled starters in Pawtucket. While recalling Wagner, who had a two saves in 2∑ innings with the Bisons, Toronto sent back right-hand reliever Marcus Walden, who they had called up only last Saturday.