Ryan Ludwick wasn't even scheduled to play in Friday's game against the Syracuse SkyChiefs, but the last-minute change to the Buffalo Bisons' lineup paid off. Ludwick drove in six runs on a grand slam and a double to help the Bisons to an explosive 12-1 victory in front of 5,997 in P&C Stadium.
With the bases loaded in the first inning, Ludwick, who replaced Russell Branyan and was the designated hitter, hit one out for his first grand slam of the season. Buffalo sent nine batters to the plate that inning.
Buffalo was carried in the pitching department by starter Jason Davis, who shut down the SkyChiefs through eight innings of work. Davis gave up just one unearned run and allowed four hits for his second win in two starts for the Bisons.
The Bisons started the second inning much the same as the first, with back-to-back singles by Brandon Phillips and Chris Clapinski, and a Jhonny Peralta-drawn walk. Ernie Young made the first Buffalo out, but an error by Syracuse shortstop Russ Adams allowed Phillips and Clapinski to score, putting the Bisons up, 6-0.
Syracuse scored its lone run in the second inning. The SkyChiefs' Jorge Sequea singled Simon Pond home from third base after Pond reached on a throwing error.
Buffalo posted two runs in each of the fourth, sixth and seventh innings, highlighted by Brent Abernathy's two-run home run in the seventh that put the Bisons up, 12-1. It was his fourth homer of the year and came with Eric Crozier on board.
After getting frustrated for three games against the Richmond Braves in their last series, when they lost three of four at home, the Bisons brought their bats out, registering 18 hits and scoring in five of the nine innings.
Bisons left-handed reliever Cliff Bartosh took over for Davis in the ninth inning and retired the side in order with a fly out, strikeout and ground out.
Ludwick has 10 RBIs on the season. He started the season on the disabled list with an injured knee, played eight games with Double-A Akron and was called up to Buffalo on July 4.
Phillips, who had four hits in six at-bats against Syracuse pitching, extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
Buffalo improved to 55-45, while Syracuse dropped to 44-57.
The Bisons continue the road series tonight (7 p.m., Radio 1520 AM). Kyle Denney (7-2, 4.04 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound against Syracuse's Mike Smith (3-4, 6.38 ERA).