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Herd mends the error of its ways Bisons' defense keys victory over Lynx

The first three games were ugly defensive outings for the Buffalo Bisons.

In Game Four, manager Torey Lovullo finally saw a little progress.

Turning some impressive defensive plays in the sixth and ninth innings, the Herd came away with a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Lynx in front of about 300 people at Dunn Tire Park on Thursday afternoon.

The Herd committed 10 errors through their first three games with shortstop Hector Luna adding the 11th in the first inning Thursday. But Buffalo picked up the defense from that point on.

With starter Jeff Harris aggressively throwing strikes, the play in the field backed up his performance on the mound.

"Jeff Harris did a great job, especially after not having had work in over two weeks," Lovullo said. "He's been working hard behind the scenes and he aggressively went after the strike zone today. Hand-in-hand with that really goes solid defense."

The key defensive plays came when Harris had already finished his five innings of work.

With the Herd clinging to its 2-1 lead in the sixth, reliever Jason Beverlin gave up a leadoff double to Lou Collier and then walked Chris Coste.

Pedro Swann was looking to bunt his entire at-bat and did -- right back to Beverlin at the mound. He threw to Keith Ginter at third to get the forceout and Ginter promptly threw to first, beating out Swann for the unusual 1-5-4 double play.

Brennan King hit a short shot to right field but Shin-Soo Choo made a diving catch to end the inning.

In the ninth, off closer Edward Mujica, the Lynx got back-to-back base hits with one out, but the Herd defense turned a 3-6-3 double play to end the game.

"I'm very pleased to see that," Lovullo said of the defense. "That double play [in the fifth] saved the game for us. . . . Those first three games were hard to watch but I didn't want to panic. Today, you could see progress and I'm very satisfied with our defense."

Offensively, the Herd used a pair of solo home runs to win the game.

Ginter led off the second inning, drilling the first pitch he saw to the top of the left field wall. The ball hit the yellow tape for a home run and a 1-0 Bisons lead.

Ottawa had two outs and Jim Rushford on first in the fifth when Jason Jaramillo got a hit against Harris, moving Rushford to third. In the next at-bat, Chris Roberson got a hit to shallow right field and beat out the throw to first, allowing Rushford to score with the tying run.

In the bottom of the fifth, Ryan Mulhern gave the Herd the lead for good, taking a 1-1 pitch to left field.

"It was cold and I really just wanted to hit the ball on the barrel," said Mulhern, making his Triple-A debut this season. "When I get into trouble is when I try to hit for power. When it's cold like this, you really just want to try and focus on hitting the barrel, otherwise you'll hurt your hands or split your bat and I've already broken four. You just want to go up there and get hits."

Mulhern, who spent last year with Double-A Akron, has done just that already for the Herd. With a four-game hit streak, he is batting .416 after going 2 for 3 Thursday.

Harris picked up the win, giving up the one run on four hits with two strikeouts in five innings, while Mujica earned his second save.

***

Outfielder Franklin Gutierrez joined the Bisons on a major league rehab assignment. Gutierrez, who is recovering from a strained left hamstring, went 1 for 3. . . . The Herd also added catcher Mike Rose to the team. Rose went 1 for 3. To make room for Rose, catcher Yamid Haad was transferred to Single-A Mahoning Valley. . . . Thursday's official paid attendance was 5,345. . . . The Bisons begin an eight-day road trip today, starting with a four-game series in Columbus. Lefty Jason Stanford is scheduled to make his first start against righty Joel Hanrahan.

e-mail: amoritz@buffnews.com

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