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Herd botches game as defense falters; Four Bisons errors lead to Indy victory

It was a pretty clean game for eight innings Saturday night in Coca-Cola Field. The Buffalo Bisons had a 3-2 lead over the Indianapolis Indians and were looking good for their fourth win in five starts.

Then the bullpen and defense completely fell apart.

The Bisons made three errors in the final two innings, with Indy getting the tying run in the ninth and exploding for sixth in the 10th to walk away with a stunning 9-3 victory.

An announced crowd of 6,485 saw Argenis Diaz tie the game in the ninth with an RBI single off Manny Acosta after a catcher's interference call on Josh Thole helped Indy load the bases with one out.

In the 10th, a double error charged to left fielder Lucas Duda on Erik Kratz's routine leadoff fly to left put a runner on third and sent the visitors on their way.

St. Francis product Jim Negrych drove in the go-ahead run on a fielder's choice bouncer to second, with Kratz beating Russ Adams' throw home. Five more runs followed.

"We were bad at the end of the game. Very bad," said Buffalo manager Ken Oberkfell, whose team committed a season-high four errors. "We had a chance to win that game in nine and didn't get it done."

Duda pulled up on Kratz's ball as shortstop Justin Turner came out and it fell between them. As Bratz sprinted into second, Duda threw wide of the bag for another error to send the runner to third.

"There was obviously a miscommunication," Oberkfell said. "They weren't communicating on it or one of them catches it."

Negrych doubled and scored in the first inning and scored again in the 10th. He's 6 for 13 with three runs and three RBIs in the series and 10 for 21 in seven games in Triple-A.

"I hadn't seen him play much before this year but he came through there," said Indy manager Frank Kremblas. "He's done a nice job since he's been here. He has good at-bats and an idea of what he wants to do up there. He's pretty disciplined."

Things got a little undisciplined in the 10th as Kratz crossed the plate and exchanged words with Thole before umpires stepped between them and any other players got involved. Oberkfell said Kratz threw an elbow at Thole while crossing the plate.

"It's uncalled for and there's no reason for that in baseball, considering he did the same thing to [Jason] Pridie in Indianapolis, blocking the plate for no reason," Oberkfell said. "There's no room for that in this game. If you're going to be a dirty player, you don't need to be playing."

"Thole was mad at him for something," Kremblas acknowledged. "When I got down there, the umpires were telling both of them to shut up."

The blown save cost Buffalo starter Dillon Gee a win. Gee gave up two first-inning runs then retired 15 of the final 17 he faced.

In the Buffalo seventh, Valentino Pascucci belted a long, high drive to left that was clearly foul but was ruled a two-run homer. Pascucci circled the bases for what appeared to be his fourth homer in two days while the entire Indianapolis bullpen crew in left field jumped out of their seats in protest.

There is no replay, of course, in the minor leagues but the umpires reversed the call. Pascucci was called back from the dugout and grounded into an inning-ending fielder's choice.

Prior to the game, the New York Mets announced they had acquired outfielder Jorge Padilla from Toronto and assigned him to Buffalo.

Padilla entered the game as a defensive replacement in the eighth and struck out in the ninth. Oberkfell said he'll likely bat leadoff today.

Padilla, 30, was hitting . 330 in 50 games with Las Vegas -- and was batting .439 in June. Padilla led all full-season minor leaguers with a .367 batting average last year at Syracuse, falling just 38 plate appearances shy of winning the league's batting title.

e-mail: mharrington@buffnews.com

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Indianapolis 9, Bisons 3 (10 inn.)

The Pitch: St. Francis product Negrych drives in go-ahead run with fielder's choice. ... Gee goes six innings, bullpen blows his first win since May 28. ... Mets acquire hot-hitting OF Padilla from Blue Jays, assign him to Herd.

Fast fact: Negrych is 6 for 13 in the three games for Indy.

Next game: Today vs. Indianapolis, 1:05 p.m. in Coca-Cola Field (Logo Baseball Giveaway/Fathers Day catch on the field).