Make it a dozen consecutive losses to Scranton for the Bisons. Bobby Meacham's squad has scored a meager 11 runs in those 12 contests, Sunday afternoon's 5-0 loss at Coca-Cola Field the latest showing of ineptitude by the Buffalo bats.
The RailRiders (59-34) dealt the Bisons (38-56) their fourth straight defeat since the All-Star break to complete the sweep, tacking on one run in each of the first three innings for an early cushion they wouldn't relinquish. The way Buffalo's offense is playing, having failed to score two runs in any of its last six games, that was more than enough for the visitors.
Missed opportunities: The Bisons put a runner on third in the third and fifth innings but failed to score each time thanks to a pair of acrobatic defensive plays by Scranton.
In the third, Roemon Fields stood on third after singling, stealing second and advancing on a Dwight Smith Jr. groundout. With two outs, Jason Leblebijian launched one just to the left of the 404 marking in dead center, but Jake Cave made a running catch on the warning track while colliding into the wall.
In the fifth, Jon Berti doubled with one out and advanced to third on a Fields groundout to first. Gregorio Petit tattooed a two-out pitch between third and short, but Miguel Andujar made a diving stop in the dirt before calmly firing to first for the third out.
"There was a few good at-bats in the middle of the game I thought," Meacham said. "I thought we were gonna string a bunch of them together, but then we went right back to just kind of defending against striking out or not swinging at bad pitches."
Buffalo went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position on the afternoon.
On the mound: Brett Oberholtzer's lackluster year stayed true to form Sunday with the southpaw allowing 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings and surrendering four runs to take the loss. In 16 starts for the Bisons this season, Oberholtzer is 1-7 with a 4.82 earned run average. He's allowed 99 hits in 80.1 innings.
Murphy Smith relieved Oberholtzer and threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings while only allowing two hits and striking out two. Chris Smith threw the top of the ninth, allowing a two-out home run to Rob Refsnyder that bounced off the top of the right-field wall and over for an insurance run.
Saunders' struggles continue: Michael Saunders, the 2016 MLB All-Star and Bisons left fielder, can't escape the abysmal slump he's mired in. After an 0-for-4 showing on Sunday, Saunders is batting .120 (6-for-50) with no home runs and a lone RBI for Buffalo this season. He hit .205 in 200 at-bats for the Blue Jays this year and hasn't fared anywhere close to better in his time with the Bisons.
How far they've fallen: The Bisons started the season 13-5, something hard to believe 75 games later and Buffalo 25-51 since then. The Herd is falling closer to last-place Syracuse in the International League North, now only four and a half games above the cellar.
"Our approach at the plate isn’t good," Meacham said bluntly.
Up next: Buffalo makes its first trip to Columbus this season for a 7:05 p.m. first pitch Monday at Huntington Park against the Clippers. Chris Rowley (1-2, 3.57 ERA) tosses for the Bisons and Ryan Merritt (7-5, 3.36) throws for Columbus.