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Bisons notebook: Lake ends hitting drought with key RBI

Junior Lake didn’t feel as if he was struggling. It’s only the first week of the season and numbers are easily skewed.

So that .160 batting average through the first seven games?

Nothing to worry about.

Lake helped his numbers Thursday as his double to right field scored the winning run in the seventh inning as the Buffalo Bisons earned a 2-1 win over the Rochester Red Wings at Coca-Cola Field.

“He threw me the pitch I was looking for and I made an adjustment and I drove in the run,” Lake said.

It took the Bisons a long time to find the right adjustments against Rochester starting pitcher Pat Dean, who held the Herd hitless through 4∑ innings.

“He’s a smart pitcher,” Lake said. “We know that. He made the pitch the way he wanted. We made adjustments, too, after five, six innings and now we make that (adjustment) to win. He was pitching quick. If you don’t make adjustments quick, too, it kills the hitter.”

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Despite the win, the Bisons’ team batting took another tumble in the numbers. Through the first eight games, the Herd has a 4-4 record but is hitting just .207 with 21 runs batted in.

The Bisons have scored more than three runs just once this opening week – a 9-1 win at Pawtucket. But they are now 4-0 when leading after seven.

The pitching has picked up the Herd the first week, not allowing more than four runs in any game this season for a staff earned run average of 2.23.

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The Buffalo Bisons spiffed up their honoring of retired numbers at Coca-Cola Field. Gone are the numbers from the outfield wall, replaced with banners along the left-field fence.

The black-and-white banners feature pictures along with the names and numbers of the three retired jerseys – No. 6 Ollie Carnegie, No. 25 Luke Easter and No. 30 Jeff Manto.

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Ceremonial first pitches were delivered by several corporate sponsors along with former Blue Jay and National Baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar. Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown was on hand for the ceremonies as well.

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Thursday marked the 28th anniversary of the first game played at Coca-Cola Field (nee: Pilot Field). The first game in the downtown ballpark was April 14, 1988, when catcher Tom Prince homered for the Herd in a 1-0 win over Denver.

email: amoritz@buffnews.com