The bats were silent for the Buffalo Bisons Friday night. The Herd managed just three hits and barely avoided the shutout in a 8-1 loss to the Syracuse Chiefs.
The Bisons could not get much off Syracuse starter Taylor Hill. The righty entered the game with just a 1-5 record and a 9.59 earned run average, but kept the Herd off balance through his eight innings of work at Coca-Cola field.
Hill gave up three hits – a double to Gregorio Petit in the second and a single to Shane Opitz in the ninth. His biggest jam came in the eighth when Raffy Lopez hit a two-out triple to right field. A passed ball allowed Lopez to score an unearned run against Hill.
"He did a good a good job. He kept the ball down. He threw a lot of strikes," Bisons' manager Bobby Meacham said about facing Hill. "I don't know, it felt like we were guessing with him. He's pretty much a hard thrower but he changed speeds well. It felt like we were guessing wrong and it wasn't a real good idea."
Balk hurts: In the second inning with one out, T.J. House gave up a walk and a single. He then was called for a balk, advancing both runners. That came back to bite House as a single from Spencer Keiboom scored both runners, giving Syracuse a 2-0 lead. Keiboom then scored on a ground out and Andrew Stevenson added an RBI single as the Chiefs built an early 4-0 lead.
"It looked like he wasn't happy with the way he was throwing the ball," Meacham said of House. "It almost looked like 'I don't know what's going on here.' That type of look to his face. You don't usually see that from him. He usually collects himself and rights himself when he starts out rough like that. But they got to him. They kept swinging the bats and hit the ball hard and they got their runs early."
Adding runs: The Chiefs added a run in the fourth, a home run from Clint Robinson, and another run in the sixth when Robinson scored on a ground out from Caleb Ramsey for a 6-0 lead.
For good measure: The Bisons again had trouble getting the third out. With two outs in the ninth, Syracuse added two more runs on a double from Stephen Perez.
Hall of Fame: Before the game, Jason Jacome and Mark Ryal were inducted into the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame. Jacome pitched in two seasons with the Bisons, 1997-1998, and was 17-3 with a 3.24 ERA in 31 total starts. A 1998 International League All Star, the lefty owns a Bisons modern era record .850 winning percentage. Ryal played two seasons with the Bisons, first appearing with the club in 1985 before returning to the team for the 1990 campaign. In 215 total games with the Herd, the outfielder hit .299 with 55 doubles, 22 home runs and 115 RBI.
Sanchez starts Sunday: Righty Aaron Sanchez will move his MLB rehab assignment to Buffalo and start Sunday's game for the Herd. The game with the Syracuse Chiefs is scheduled for a 1:05 first pitch at Coca-Cola Field. A 2016 All-Star, Sanchez was placed on the disabled list May 20 with a laceration on the middle finger of his throwing hand.
Sanchez made five starts with the Blue Jays this year, going 0-1 with a 3.33 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings of work. He made his Triple-A debut with the Bisons in 2014, going 0-3 with a 4.19 ERA in eight games and six starts. He also made a three-game MLB injury rehab appearance with the Herd in 2015.
Attendance: There were 8,088 at Coca-Cola Field Friday night.
Up next: The series continues at 7:05 p.m. Saturday with righty Cesar Valdez scheduled to start for the Herd against Syracuse righty Edwin Jackson.