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Bisons show late life in loss Lack of clutch hits puts Herd in hole

The Bisons' rally fell short.

But the fact that Buffalo had a rally, scoring three runs in the ninth inning and putting pressure on Lehigh Valley, is a good sign that the Herd will gladly take from Sunday afternoon.

Though the Bisons generated some runs in their final at-bat, it was the IronPigs who left Coca-Cola Field with a 7-5 win.

The Herd entered that final inning trailing 7-2, having gone just 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position.

Salomon Manriquez led off with a pinch-hit single and scored on a one-out single by Nick Evans. With two outs and runners on second and third, Valentino Pascucci doubled down the left-field line to drive in two more. But Russ Adams grounded out to first to end the rally and the game.

"We came in the dugout at the end and everyone was like, 'Let's go. Let's give them a finish.' And that's kind of what we did," Pascucci said. "Manriquez went out there and got the first hit, got us going and everybody fed off that. Everybody put in an effort at the end and we just came up a little short."

The Herd collected three hits off IronPigs reliever Scott Mathieson, who came in to pitch the ninth. Mathieson gave up the three runs with one walk and was replaced by Juan Perez, who picked up the save by getting the final out.

"I think it was patience," Bisons manager Tim Teufel said. "We ran into a guy who is struggling with the strike zone a little bit and that let us get back into hitters' counts and that's important.

"The ninth inning was great to see. We had some key hits. Guys worked the counts and were very patient. They showed that they can come from behind and battle and I liked their perseverance."

The Bisons were encouraged by their late-game hitting, particularly after struggling to bring runners home during the middle innings.

Lehigh Valley took a 1-0 lead in the first when Kevin Frandsen hit a one-out triple and scored on a groundout by Delwyn Young.

The Herd took a 2-1 lead on a two-run double by catcher Raul Chavez, but a four-run third inning gave the IronPigs a commanding lead.

The Bisons were able to get runners on base and in scoring position. Kirk Nieuwenhuis had two doubles, extending his International League-leading hitting streak to 14 games, but the team stranded 10 runners and finished 4 for 17 with runners in scoring position.

Ending the game with good at-bats and late runs gives the Herd some confidence.

"It feels good," Pascucci said. "We had a lull there in the game but we bounced back in the ninth and hopefully we take that into [Monday]. Everybody knows that we're not out of the game. Look at the guys up and down the lineup. Everybody can hit well and has a chance to hit a home run. It's a good feeling to put a little pressure on the team and carry that into the next game."

e-mail: amoritz@buffnews.com

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