It wasn't the cleanest of saves for Danny Barnes or Dustin Antolin. Both ran into bits of trouble in their respective final innings for the Buffalo Bisons Sunday afternoon.
But both put up zeros where it counted and helped the Herd secure a doubleheader sweep over the Pawtucket Red Sox at Coca-Cola Field.
"I didn't have my best stuff but you’ve got to compete. That’s what this game is about," Antolin said. "You’ve just got to figure a way out even when you don’t have your best stuff.
Barnes extended his scoreless pitching streak to 10 2/3 innings over eight games, picking up his third save with the Herd in a 5-2 win in the first game.
Antolin picked up his 10th save in a 2-1 win in the second game and has allowed just one earned run in his last 19 outings.
Let's start with Barnes.
He came into the game with a three-run lead and one out in the sixth. He hit the first batter he faced then got two fly outs. Barnes found himself in a jam in the seventh (and final) inning with the bases loaded thanks to an error on center fielder Dalton Pompey, a walk and another hit batter.
But Barnes came through with a pair of strike outs -- one swinging and one looking -- to secure the team win.
"The last batter I found my slider so I ended up going with that which I haven’t really done all year," Barnes said. "And I just threw enough strikes. Just enough to get it done.
It was his first game back with the Herd since earning his first Major League promotion, pitching four innings over three games.
"I think with Barnes, I think he was a little rusty," manager Gary Allenson said. "He hadn’t pitched in four or five days. That’s not like him where he’s usually spotting his stuff pretty good. Any time he hits two guys, you know the command is off and he’s trying to get the rust off. But did a good job. We shook hands after that one."
Barnes, however, didn't think he was rusty. He just thought he didn't have his best stuff Sunday afternoon.
"No, I think it was just one of those days. I wouldn’t say I was rusty or anything," Barnes said. "It’s just, it’s going to happen.
I "didn’t have really good command of my fastball but thankfully I had it with all other pitches so it ended up working out all right."
In the second game, Antolin came on in the seventh with a one-run lead and gave up a leadoff walk. With two outs he gave up a single, but a ground out to short ended the game and the scoring threat.
"I had to work through it," Antolin said. "I didn’t have my fastball. The speed was there but location wasn’t so I had to figure something out. ... My secondary pitches, they were there. Helped me out big time. That’s pretty much it. Made pitches when I need to.
"I’ve been doing pretty much the same thing. Just attacking. Throw it up there and see if they can hit it. If they hit it, then I tip my cap. That’s pretty much what I’ve been doing all year."
While Barnes and Antolin picked up saves, the starters also picked up wins.
Casey Lawrence improved to 4-4, giving up two runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked one. This is his second stint with the Bisons this year with 13 starts for the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
"He started his Triple-A career with us with one spot start here and there and a couple early this season where he almost looked like he didn't belong," Allenson said. "He's gotten past that point. ... He's shown he belongs here."
Scott Copeland improved to 2-1 giving up one run on three hits in six innings. It was the fourth straight start where Copeland has given up only one run.
"One thing about him -- he doesn't panic," Allenson said. "Regardless of whether the first guy gets on base or he gives up a line hit or they tie the game. He's a pro out there. He keeps his cool and he moves on."