Even though Terry Collins was ejected from Monday afternoon's Triple A Alliance game against the Rochester Red Wings at Silver Stadium, the Buffalo Bisons manager saw enough of Pete Harnisch.
Collins was banished for disputing a balk call in the second inning of the Herd's 8-0 loss to the Red Wings, but that was long enough to gain an appreciation for the bulldog pitching style of Harnisch.
"He just goes after you," Collins said of the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Rochester right-hander. "I like him."
A former Fordham University star, Harnisch allowed the Bisons only three hits in eight innings before Texas Mike Smith came on to pitch the ninth.
Staked to an early 4-0 lead, Harnisch could afford to pitch aggressively, you might argue. But Collins pointed out: "He pitched the same way when it was 0-0 in Buffalo (last week)."
"Everybody knows what I'm doing. It's no secret," Harnisch admitted, keeping one eye on the Chicago-Detroit NBA playoff game on the clubhouse TV set. "I use my fastball on the first pitch to get ahead of the hitters, then I go to my other stuff -- the change-up and the slider."
Harnisch began the season with the Baltimore Orioles and may be back with the parent club, despite a 2-4 record in Triple-A.
He was in the Orioles' starting rotation early in the season but, after one start, came down with the flu and strep throat and couldn't pitch for 19 days.
"I wasn't 100 percent when I came back," Harnisch said. "I pitched 3 1/3 innings against Oakland, but I was wild. They sent me here to get myself together.
"I feel I got my stuff together now, and now it's just a matter of time . . ."
Harnisch lowered his earned run average to 2.27 with his performance Monday at the expense of the Bisons. In three of his losses, the Wings were shut out. The fourth defeat was by a 3-2 count.
Collins got the thumb from Paul Terry in the midst of the Red Wings' four-run second inning against Buffalo starter Morris Madden (4-1). The Bisons manager disputed the third base umpire's interpretation of the balk rule.
The balk was called against Madden for not coming to a proper stop in his stretch motion.
"I thought last year, the way they called the balk rule turned the game into a travesty," Collins said. "My understanding was that this year the umpires were not going to call it unless it was flagrant, and the one today was not flagrant."
The Wings' big inning began when Keith Hughes lined a triple to right. Albert Hall leapt to his left ("Helluva effort," Collins said later) for the chest-high drive and almost gloved it, but couldn't hold on. Hughes scored when Butch Davis reached on shortstop Bobby Meacham's bobble. Davis took second on a botched pickoff attempt, which should have erased the runner.
After Billy Moore walked, the disputed balk moved runners to third and second. Davis scored on Tim Dulin's sacrifice fly. Walt Harris squibbed a soft grounder that died in short left and went for a double, producing the third run of the uprising. Tim Hulett's soft single to center scored the fourth before Madden pitched out of it.
"If we had gotten out of the inning down only 2-0 we could have done something," Collins said. "But 4-0, you have to wait and hope you can put together some hits."
That never happened against Harnisch, who breezed with the exception of the third inning when he filled the bases on two walks and a fielder's choice.
Jeff King's infield hit in the fourth was the first Bison safety.
Outside of the second inning, Madden pitched effectively, allowing only one hit in the next four innings he pitched.
Reliever Orlando Lind gave up four runs in the seventh, three scoring on Hughes' homer off the top of the fence at the 330-foot mark in right.
The Pittsburgh Pirates optioned right-handed pitcher Logan Easley to Buffalo and recalled left-hander Roger Samuels, who was acquired May 10 from San Francisco for infielder Ken Oberkfell.
Samuels, 28, was 0-1 with a 3.72 earned run average in six appearances at Buffalo and was 0-4 with a 3.38 ERA overall in 20 games with the Bisons and Class AAA Phoenix.
Easley was 1-0 with one save and a 4.38 ERA in 10 Pirate appearances.
Rick Reed (2-6) will start for Buffalo tonight (7:05, Ch. 49, WGR) against lefty Mike Jones (2-0) in the season series' finale between the teams. Buffalo leads, 3-2.
The normally light-hitting Wings have scored 26 runs in their last three games, including 19 in two starts against Buffalo. Hulett has 13 hits in his last 18 at-bats.
Collins' ejection was his second of the season.