Last month Robert Perez was filling in as the New York Yankees center fielder when Bernie Williams was absent because of the illness of his father in Puerto Rico.
The Buffalo Bisons wish Perez had stayed with the Bronx Bombers.
The veteran outfielder cracked a two-run home run with two out in the bottom of the 10th inning Wednesday afternoon to let the Indianapolis Indians walk off with a 6-5 victory over the Bisons before a crowd of 9,903 at Victory Field.
Perez has played only three games with the Indians since he was designated for assignment by the Yankees last week. All have been against Buffalo. Perez, who began the season with the Columbus Clippers, is batting .500 (6 for 12) against Buffalo, including 2 for 4 Wednesday.
Buffalo owned two late-game leads but the bullpen failed to hold them. The Herd took a 4-3 lead into the eighth inning, but the Tribe picked up a run to tie it. Perez was in the middle of that rally, too. Lou Collier started it with a one-out single, and Perez singled. Both hits were off Roy Smith. After Jamie Walker relieved, Collier scored when Mark Sweeney hit into a force play.
The Herd took the lead again with a run in the top of the 10th. Anthony Medrano walked to open the frame and advanced to second on a single by John McDonald. Medrano was out at third when Mark Lewis bunted into a double play on a sacrifice attempt, but McDonald advanced to second. Dave Hollins then lined the first pitch to him off the fence in left to score McDonald.
Bisons reliever Dario Veras came on to close it out in the 10th and retired the first two batters before running into trouble. Veras struck out Elvis Pena and got Marcos Scutaro on a fly ball to center, but Collier doubled to right. That set the stage for Perez, who drove a fast ball over the fence in left for his eighth home run of the season.
"We did a good job of getting the lead late, and they did a good job of coming back and capitalizing on our mistakes," said Bisons manager Eric Wedge. "Perez got a good pitch to hit and just hit it out of the park.
"The big thing is you don't want to make too much of it. It's a game we feel like we should have won, but we've won a few games like that, too. . . . That's baseball. It's important for us to come back with the same attitude tomorrow." Buffalo will try for a split of the four-game series in tonight's finale. Left-hander Mike Bacsik (6-2) is scheduled to start for the Herd against right-hander Kyle Peterson (2-5).
The Bisons return home Friday night to open a four-game series against the Louisville RiverBats at 7:35. Then Indy comes in for four games.
Wedge, pitching coach Carl Willis and relief pitcher Danys Baez have been selected to participate in the third annual All-Star Futures Game on July 8, at Safeco Field in Seattle as part of Major League Baseball's All-Star week.
The Sunday game will pit two 25-man teams with a team of players born in the U.S. playing against players born in other countries, including the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Baez, 23, was signed by the Cleveland Indians in 1999 after defecting from Cuba. He is 2-0 with three saves and a 3.42 earned-run average for the Bisons this year and also appeared in three games for Cleveland.