TOLEDO, Ohio -- The Cleveland Indians probably hope Cliff Lee's guest appearance for the Buffalo Bisons on Saturday has a better outcome than Sean Smith's first Triple-A start on Thursday night.
Mike Hessman hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning to give the Toledo Mud Hens a 3-1 victory at Fifth Third Field. The homer spoiled Smith's outing in which he struck out four and allowed three hits and three walks in five shutout innings.
"They put the right man up there in the right spot," Buffalo manager Torey Lovullo said. "One swing of the bat was the difference in the game."
With one out and runners on the corners in the sixth, Hessman hit a 2-2 pitch off of Herd reliever Jason Beverlin (1-1) over the wall in deep left-center. The Bisons had taken the lead when Franklin Gutierrez scored on an error in the first against Yorman Bazardo (1-1).
With runners on first and third in the ninth, Buffalo's Luis Rivas struck out swinging to end the game after hitting a foul ball down the left field line that landed a few feet foul.
The Bisons (8-3) found out before the game that Indians left-hander Lee will start for them on an injury rehabilitation assignment Saturday night in Dunn Tire Park. After starter Adam Miller (2-0) and the Herd wraps up its series in Toledo tonight at 7, Buffalo will begin a five-game homestand Saturday.
Lee, who missed all of spring training with a strained right abdominal muscle, is expected to throw 65-70 pitches in the 6:05 p.m. game against the Pawtucket Red Sox. Lee was 14-11 with a 4.40 ERA for the Indians last season but led all American League lefties in victories in 2005 when he was 18-5, 3.79 in 32 starts.