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Bisons' win ends in controversy

The circumstances under which the Buffalo Bisons won Monday were unusual, but they will take it.

In the books, it says the Herd beat the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 5-3, but Monday afternoon's rain-soaked game ended in controversy.

A steady rain had developed over the final few innings and the infield was becoming puddled and muddy. Buffalo entered the ninth inning with a 5-0 lead, but the conditions got to reliever Manny Acosta, who struggled to locate pitches.

He walked four batters, one with the bases loaded, and gave up a two-run single to Matt Miller.

The IronPigs had the bases loaded with one out when crew chief David Rackley called a rain delay. After an hour and 42 minutes and with no reprieve in sight on the radar, the game was called with the win going to the Bisons.

"Very poorly done. Non-professional. Non-baseball," Lehigh Valley manager Ryne Sandberg said. "We got homered by the grounds crew. We were coming back with the tying run at second base. It was a non-professional baseball move. Their skip was out there complaining. Their pitcher was complaining. The umpire went with it. It's ridiculous."

From Bisons manager Tim Teufel's point of view, it was a safety issue for the players.

"The field was very sloppy," Teufel said. "There was a sheen on the field in the eighth and then in the ninth it really did get unplayable. When we started the ninth, it didn't look as bad and then it progressively got worse, quick. I think the amount of rain that the field was taking was a lot. Finally, it couldn't handle it any more."

While the ending was somewhat odd, getting the win was key for the Herd, which ended its homestand at 4-4 and takes a bit of momentum into Rochester for a four-game series with the Red Wings.

A handful of the 4,342 announced crowd at Coca-Cola Field watched starter Dylan Owen (1-2) pitch an impressive game. Owen threw six scoreless innings, giving up just three hits with six strikeouts, throwing 78 pitches, 52 for strikes.

After giving up back-to-back hits in the first inning, Owen settled in. He gave up his third hit in the second inning, but then retired the next 14 batters.

"I just wanted to establish fastballs and throw early pitches for strikes," Owen said. "As the game moved on I was working on my off-speed and was able to throw that for strikes. Early contact helped me out also.

"What I've been working on is focusing more on trying to get ahead [in counts] because when I get behind, that's usually when I get hit around. I've just been taking it a day at a time, before each start focusing on getting ahead and making good pitches down in the zone."

Owen got run support from the start as Kirk Nieuwenhuis had a one-out solo home run in the first inning to give the Herd a 1-0 lead. The hit extended Nieuwenhuis' hitting streak to 15 games, the longest for a Bison since Javier Castillo hit in 16 straight games in 2009.

The Bisons added four runs in the sixth inning with some timely hitting. With two outs and the bases loaded, Luis Hernandez hit a two-run single down the left-field line. With the bases loaded again, Ruben Tejada fell behind in the count, 0-2, battled back to a full count then singled to shallow right field for two more runs and a 5-0 Bisons lead.

Meanwhile, the New York Mets have optioned pitcher D.J. Carrasco to the Bisons. The 34-year-old right-hander was 0-1 with a 5.23 earned-run average in seven games for the Mets. Carrasco has 72-hours to report to the Bisons and will work into the Herd's rotation once he joins the team.

Lefty Casey Fossum (0-1, 5.28 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Herd tonight in the Rochester opener (7:05 p.m., Radio 1520) against righty Kyle Gibson (0-0, 3.86).

e-mail: amoritz@buffnews.com

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