It's not often that the fans at Coca-Cola Field cheer for the opposition but they certainly did for Jim Negrych.
Negrych, the Indianapolis Indians second baseman and St. Francis product, hit a two-run homer in the top of the sixth inning and that proved to be enough as the Buffalo Bisons fell, 2-0, on Thursday night.
Most of the crowd of about 4,000 cheered as Negrych's homer off left-hander Pat Misch landed over the left-center field fence.
"I couldn't believe it went out," Negrych said. "I'm a guy who doesn't hit too many home runs and to hit one out to the deep part of the field, I thought it was going to be a double or the guy was going to get underneath it. I got lucky and ran into one.
It was indeed a sweet homecoming for Negrych, who finished 3 for 4, including singling to center in his first at-bat.
"You don't expect [cheering] on the road but coming back is exciting and people here have shown me nothing but love since the day I was drafted," Negrych said. "That's what makes this city so great, there's no animosity towards me from the people I played with and the people I played against. They all came out to show some support for me."
For his big night, Negrych received a shaving cream pie in the face from an unknown assailant.
"He had a lot of people here cheering for him and that was good to see, but unfortunately he beat us," said Bisons manager Ken Oberkfell. "He's got to be happy with the way he played today, and I was impressed with the way he played."
The evening, however, wasn't so appealing for the Bisons, who left eight men stranded on base and were 0 for 3 with runners in scoring position. Indianapolis pitchers Hayden Penn (2-2), Anthony Claggett, Wilfredo Ledezma and Jean Machi combined for a three-hit shutout. They retired 18 batters in a row until Machi walked Josh Thole in the ninth with two outs. The game ended when Andy Green popped out to first baseman Jeff Clement near the Bisons' dugout.
Buffalo had won back-to-back games at home against Lehigh Valley before Thursday but fell to 35-32 on the season while the Indians moved to 36-31.
Until Negrych launched his home run, starter Misch (5-3) went untouched and finished the night with seven complete innings and four strikeouts. Misch came into Thursday at 4-0 with a 2.82 ERA in six games at Coca-Cola Field in 2010.
In the second inning, Negrych threw out Lucas Duda at third as he was trying to stretch a double into a triple.
The Bisons' problems stemmed from their inability to move runners along, as the Herd stranded seven in the first three innings.
The Bisons lost an opportunity for runs in the second. After Negrych threw Duda out, the Herd loaded the bases with two outs but Justin Turner hit a hard grounder to third baseman Doug Bernier, who tossed it to Negrych at second for the force out.
"One of my goals was to come here and play and my next goal is to go to Pittsburgh and play where I went to college," said Negrych, who attended Pitt. "I can check this one off."
Indianapolis 2, Bisons 0
The pitch: St. Francis grad Negrych goes 3 for 4 with a two-run home run. Herd scatters just three hits and leaves seven men on base. Bisons go 0 for 3 with runners in scoring position.
Fast fact: Justin Turner's streak of 18 consecutive games on base was snapped.
Next game: Today vs. Indianapolis, 7:35 p.m. at Coca-Cola Field (fridaynightbash!).