Share this article

print logo

Bisons done in by the long ball Visiting IronPigs sock three homers

It was a classic offensive showdown, with home runs, plenty of hits and a good number of runners in scoring position.

But of the four long balls hit at Coca-Cola Field on Saturday, three of them were by the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in their 7-5 win over the Buffalo Bisons.

The Herd twice had the lead, but failed to keep pace with the IronPigs, giving up momentum as soon as they had seemingly seized it.

"That was the type of game it was. We made a few mistakes and they capitalized on it," Bisons manager Tim Teufel said. "We didn't make quality pitches when we needed to and the next thing you know, they just kept battling. The eight-hole hitter [Erik Kratz] had two home runs. They executed, we didn't."

The Herd left six runners on base and hit just 2 for 6 with runners in scoring position.

Lehigh Valley's final stats weren't any better, going 2 for 7 with runners in scoring position and stranding seven, but the IronPigs took advantage of key opportunities in the middle innings.

The Bisons took a 1-0 lead in the first when Kirk Nieuwenhuis doubled, moved to third on a passed ball and scored on a sacrifice fly by Nick Evans.

Lehigh Valley tied the game in the second and scored big in the fifth and seventh to push the offense.

In the fifth, the IronPigs took a 3-1 lead as Kratz hit a solo homer and Josh Barfield beat out a throw at the plate to score on a double by Kevin Frandsen.

But Buffalo came back in dramatic fashion in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs and runners on the corners, starting pitcher Pat Misch blasted a double to left-center field, scoring one run to cut the lead to 3-2. Ruben Tejada's two-run single to right field gave the Herd a 4-3 lead.

"I'm not a hitter by any means, but definitely when you go up there you want to do something, especially when you're down by two," Misch said. "So I just got lucky."

"[Misch] really came through at that point, hitting a double over the left fielder's head," Teufel said. "I think that kind of shocked a few of us. That's the kind of stuff that usually you come out and win ball games like that, but this one we just let go."

Instead of building on the momentum from that fifth inning, the Herd slipped in the seventh, as the IronPigs added three runs to take the lead for good.

Frandsen drew a one-out walk, stole second, then scored on a double by Delwyn Young to tie the game. Jeff Larish then blasted a two-run homer to right field off reliever Taylor Tankersley for a 6-4 lead.

The Herd would get one back in the bottom of the inning when Fernando Martinez hit a solo homer in a pinch hit appearance, but Kratz answered with his second homer of the game in the eighth for a 7-5 lead.

There was some life in the ninth inning when Tejada had his second hit of the day to put runners on first and second with two outs, but Nieuwenhuis struck out to end the game.

Misch, who took a no-decision, pitched 5 2/3 innings -- giving up three runs on five hits with three walks and one strikeout. And while that fifth inning saw him face seven batters, the lefty felt good late into his start.

"I actually felt better in the fifth than I did in the fourth," said Misch, who retired the side in order in the fourth. "It was just one of those days that was going back and forth and that's baseball. Hopefully [today] we can get it going our way."

e-mail: amoritz@buffnews.com