When the Buffalo Bisons arrived in Allentown, Pa. for the start of a four-game series against Lehigh Valley, they led the IronPigs by percentage points in the North Division standings of the International League.
They came home Sunday night trailing the IronPigs by four games after dropping all four games of the series in Allentown.
Lehigh Valley completed the series sweep by taking both ends of a doubleheader on Sunday afternoon at Coca-Cola Park, 7-2 and 1-0. The doubleheader win extended the IronPigs’ winning streak to a franchise record nine in a row. The four losses dropped the Herd (18-16) to a third-place tie with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the division behind Lehigh Valley (23-13) and Rochester (17-14). The Wings were rained out Sunday.
Silent bats: Buffalo had only one extra-base hit in 14 innings in the doubleheader, a double with one out in the seventh inning of the nightcap by Alex Monsalve. The potential tying run, Monsalve was left on base when Darrell Ceciliani struck out and Rowdy Tellez was out on when he tapped one in front of the plate.
Never in front: The IronPigs never trailed in the doubleheader after Rhys Hoskins hit a two-out homer against Bisons starter Mat Latos in the first inning of the opener. They broke the game open with a four-run fifth inning against Latos. The explosion included another homer by Dylan Cozens, who hit three in the series and has nine for the season.
No table-setter: The Herd’s leadoff batter reached base only once in the first game and twice in the second. The top of the Buffalo batting order was 0 for 14 in the opener.
Nothing earned: The Bisons’ only runs in the doubleheader were unearned. After two were out in the top of the seventh in the opener, Dwight Smith Jr. reached on an error by shorstop Pedro Florimon. Successive singles by Raffy Lopez, Ian Parmley and Shane Opitz produced two runs before Lehigh Valley starter Tom Eshelman got Roemon Field on an infield grounder.
Triple-A is easy: Eshelman (2-0) has not allowed an earned run yet in his two Triple-A starts with the IronPigs since his promotion from Double-A Reading. He went eight innings and allowed four hits and one walk in a 9-0 shutout of Rochester in his debut last Monday and gave the Bisons only five hits and a walk Sunday.
Up next: The Bisons open a four-game home series against last-place Syracuse tonight at Coca-Cola Field with Cesar Valdez (1-0, 0.00) facing Chiefs right-hander Taylor Hill (1-4, 9.29). Pawtucket comes in for three games starting Friday night.