The Buffalo Bisons got a solid start from veteran Jarrett Grube Saturday but gave up two ninth-inning runs in a 5-3 loss to Pawtucket Saturday.
Grube lasted 6 1-3 innings and 114 pitches, which was key since the Bisons’ bullpen was over-taxed this week.
But Pawtucket scored two runs – one earned – off reliever John Stilson in the ninth. A run-scoring double down the left-field line by Brian Bogusevic scored the go-ahead run, then Pawtucket scored an insurance run on a passed ball by catcher Alex Monsalve.
Buffalo loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth via two walks and a Shane Opitz single, but Christian Lopes flew out to end the game.
Bisons manager Bobby Meacham was happy for the long outing by Grube, who allowed seven hits and three runs.
“The bullpen is running on empty out there,” Meacham said. “Grube gave us a lot of work and Stilly did a good job at the end.”
“He might not even know it,” Meacham said of Grube, “but he saved a lot of arms. He saved, I think, wins down the road, and he improved on his game himself.”
Records: Pawtucket (16-22) snapped a nine-game losing streak. Buffalo fell to 22-18 overall and 4-2 on the homestand.
Toronto moves: The Blue Jays activated starting catcher Russell Martin off the disabled list, along with centerfielder Kevin Pillar, who had been suspended two games for an anti-gay slur. They also put pitcher Aaron Sanchez on the DL.
As a result, pitcher Cesar Valdez, scheduled to start for Buffalo Sunday, was called up to Toronto. The Jays also sent hot-hitting outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. back to Buffalo after just a two-day stay with the big club. And Toronto designated veteran catcher Mike Ohlman for assignment to Buffalo.
Big hit: Pawtucket’s biggest hit was a two-run home run by Rusney Castillo in the third inning. Castillo, 29, played five seasons in Cuba’s major league before being signed by Boston in 2014. He has a .262 big-league batting average in 99 games for Boston.
Streakers: Buffalo right-fielder Roemon Fields extended his hitting streak to 14 games with an infield hit in the seventh inning. . . . Pawtucket’s Aneury Tavarez is on a 1-for-31 skid.
Panda report: Pablo Sandoval, the former World Series MVP, saw his first action in the field in his rehabilitation assignment from Boston. He started at third base for the PawSox and went 1 for 3 before being replaced by a pinch runner. The 30-year-old Sandoval is working back from a knee injury.
Roster news: Outfielder Darrell Ceciliani, called up to Toronto Tuesday, went on the disabled list after injuring his shoulder on a home-run swing for the Jays on Thursday. That prompted the call-up from Double-A of top prospect Anthony Alford, which prompted the call-up to Buffalo Andrew Guillotte from Class A. Guillotte made his first Triple-A start Saturday.
In the house: Paid attendance was 7,486.
Up next: The two teams are scheduled to close the series and the homestand at 1:05 p.m. Sunday. The weather forecast calls for a 70 percent chance of rain.