The Buffalo Bisons washed away their dreadful road trip, ending a six-game losing skid with a 9-4 win over the Durham Bulls at Coca-Cola Field Monday night.
Daniel Norris had an impressive outing while the Herd’s offense finally came to life, including solid performances by Dalton Pompey, Matt Hague and Caleb Gindl.
Cold bats heat up: It was a pretty dismal road trip for the Bisons, who not only went 0-6 but were shut out four times. The runs came early for the Herd, as they scored three times on four hits in the first inning.
Driving them home: Gindl drove in three runs – two on a double in the first and one on a single in the third.
Back on the farm: Pompey hasn’t played his best baseball since being optioned back to the Bisons from Toronto on May 2, but Monday he had a breakthrough with a four-hit night. With singles in the first, fourth and sixth and an RBI double in the eighth, Pompey had his first multi-hit game since returning to the Bisons. He also scored three runs.
Finding a groove: The very first pitch Norris threw Monday evening, Taylor Motter drove over the left field fence. But after he gave up that first-pitch home run to start the game, Norris settled in. He struck out the next four batters.
Hiccup in the fifth: Norris sailed through his outing after that home run, until he reached the fifth. He started with a strikeout, then issued his first walk. Another strike out put two away, but another walk followed by a single scored a run. It was by far the inning in which Norris threw the most pitches outside the strike zone.
About that seventh: With one out and a base runner on after an error by shortstop Jonathan Diaz, Norris had a throwing error to first on a pick-off move. He then issued a walk and was lifted for reliever Chad Jenkins. Jenkins promptly threw a wild pitch to move the runners up, with one run scoring on a ground out and another on a broken bat single to shallow left. The Bisons escaped the inning clinging to its 5-4 lead.
But then there was the bottom of the seventh: A two-run double by Sean Ochinko gave the Bisons back their cushion, 7-4.
Hit streak: First baseman Hague has the longest active hit streak in the International League at 12 games. Since April 29, he has averaged .326 (16 for 49) with two doubles, five runs batted in and five walks. He leads the Bisons with 37 hits, 15 runs scored and a .421 on-base percentage.
Roster moves: The Bisons activated right-handed pitcher Chad Jenkins, who was optioned by the Blue Jays on May 8. Jenkins was recalled by Toronto on May 4. He pitched two relief innings against the Yankees on May 5, giving up one run on two hits with one walk and two strikeouts. He had made four starts with the Herd this season, going 1-1 with a 2.89 ERA.
Pitchers of record: Norris (1-1) picked up the win , throwing 6∑ innings. He gave up five hits and four runs (two earned) with three walks and seven strike outs. The loss went to Durham starter Dylan Floro (3-3) who gave up five runs on 11 hits with three strike outs in five innings.
Time of game: 2:42.
Paid attendance: 4,837.
Records: The Bisons are 16-15. Durham is 19-13.
Next up: The series with Durham continues at 6:05 p.m. Tuesday with Miguel Castro (0-0, 18.00) scheduled to start for the Bisons against Everett Teaford (2-1, 4.05).