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Mejia loses focus on the bases and mound

Jenrry Mejia didn't perform like a top prospect.

Ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the New York Mets' system by Baseball America, Mejia suffered a mediocre outing and a particularly rough third inning as the Buffalo Bisons dropped a 7-5 decision to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Coca-Cola Field on Sunday afternoon.

Mejia gave up five runs on four hits through six innings. He walked two, struck out three and threw 89 pitches, 56 for strikes.

It was an aberration for Mejia, who has been solid in his previous four starts this season. In his first 18 1/3 innings, he gave up just two earned runs and entered Sunday's game with a 0.98 earned run average. That ERA jumped to 2.59 after his second loss.

Mejia's trouble started with a base running error in the second. He got on base when he was hit by a pitch from IronPigs starter Vance Worely. A single by Ruben Tejada loaded the bases with two outs, bringing hot hitter Kirk Nieuwenhuis to the plate.

But Mejia was picked off at second to end the inning and the scoring opportunity was lost.

Back on the mound, he started the third by walking the No. 8 batter, Dane Sardinha. A throwing error and another walk were followed by a three-run home run by Jeff Larish, giving Lehigh Valley a 5-2 lead.

"He got lost a little bit out at second base and didn't hustle back, the catcher picked up on it and he didn't see the throw coming through and he got caught napping," Bisons manager Tim Teufel said. "I think he maybe took a little bit of that to the mound but for me, he just made one bad pitch to a good hitter.

"I saw that one inning was a concentration inning. He let it get away a little bit but the rest of the game he was good. He gave us six strong innings. He just let that one go and lost a little focus."

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Larish had a two-home run, four-RBI performance for Lehigh Valley. Larish also homered in Saturday's game, giving him six RBIs over the last two games. The first baseman is batting .306 (23-75) in 21 career games in Coca-Cola Field.

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The crowd was announced at 4,353 but there were just a few hundred fans at the game, many of them wearing Buffalo Sabres jerseys. The new and improved video scoreboard showed the Sabres game during breaks in the baseball game.

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The series and homestand conclude today with a 12:05 p.m. game with Lehigh Valley. Right-hander Dylan Owen (0-2, 7.71 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Herd against righty Nate Bump (0-1, 4.50).

The Bisons then begin an eight-game road trip with four games in Rochester.

e-mail: amoritz@buffnews.com

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