The Buffalo Bisons finished off their homestand on a disappointing note Sunday afternoon, dropping both games of a doubleheader with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Coca-Cola Field.
The Bisons rallied in the second game, finally getting their bats warmed up on the day late in the game, but fell short in a 5-4 loss. The IronPigs took the first game, 1-0, as both starting pitchers kept batters off balance.
Game 1: It was a pitching dual between former teammates in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader which the Lehigh Valley IronPigs won, 1-0.
Bisons' starter Brett Oberholtzer (0-2) gave up a solo home run in the sixth inning, his lone mistake in a five-hit performance over 5 2/3 innings. He issued two walks with one strike out.
Meanwhile Mark Appel (2-2) gave up just two hits with four walks and five strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings.
The two were teammates in the Houston Astros organization, both playing for Triple-A Fresno in 2015. They were part of a five-player trade between Houston and Philadelphia in 2015. Appel stayed with the Phillies organization. Oberholtzer signed a minor league deal as a free agent with the Blue Jays in December.
Breaking up the no-hitter: Appel was tossing a no-hitter into the fifth inning. That's when Shane Opitz broke it up, getting Buffalo's first hit of the game. Two-out single moved Jake Elmore, who reached on walk, to third. But the Herd failed to cash in on the runner in scoring position when Christian Lopes struck out looking.
Breaking the scoreless tie: Dylan Cozens sent a two-out shot to centerfield in the sixth inning to put the Lehigh Valley IronPigs up, 1-0, in the sixth. It was the first run allowed by Bisons' pitchers in 14 2/3 innings over three games.
"Gave up that home run and that was all she wrote," Oberholtzer said. "For me, I would have liked to go seven in a doubleheader game like that but you know just competed. They've got a good lineup over there. A lot of prospects. So I just try to compete and battle."
Inauspicious start for Game 2: Luis Santos had a rough first inning for the Herd, issuing three walks then surrendering a one-out grand slam to Rhys Hoskins.
Defensive gem: Darrell Ceciliani made an incredible catch in left field in the third inning. He climbed the wall and snagged a ball destined for a home run for Hector Gomez.
— Buffalo Bisons (@BuffaloBisons) May 7, 2017
On the board: Mike Ohlman homered in the fourth to put the Bisons on the board. It was the first hit of the game for the Herd.
Rally: The Herd scored three runs in the fifth. Roemon Fields had a two-out RBI single then Ceciliani had a two-run double to cut the Lehigh Valley lead to 5-4.
Meacham on the week: "Everybody's ready to play," Bisons manager Bobby Meacham said as the Bisons played their fourth doubleheader in eight games. "We didn't play sloppy. The last few games especially I thought we played solid baseball. That's what we're looking for."
Roster move: Catcher Raffy Lopez was promoted from Double-A New Hampshire with catcher Alex Monsalve placed on the disabled list. Lopez started the second game and went 1 for 3.
Counting the stands: The official paid attendance was 4,411 with only a couple hundred brave souls braving the cold May afternoon.
Up next: The Bisons start a seven-game road trip in Syracuse on Monday. The Herd and Chiefs will play three games with the Herd then traveling to Allentown, Pa., for four games with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.