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Herd stumble out of gate vs. PawSox

PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- Rhode Island has not been a kind state to the Buffalo Bisons. And the trend continued on Opening Day. Matt Harvey had a rocky start on the mound for the Herd and the offense only came on solo home runs in a 4-2 loss to Pawtucket Thursday night.

Harvey lasted just 4 1/3 innings issuing four walks and getting tagged for four runs.

Pawtucket took a 1-0 lead in the third when Mauro Gomez singled to left field with two outs.

Buffalo took a 2-1 lead in the fourth. Josh Satin led off the inning with a home run and Valentino Pascucci homered to left with one out.

But the PawSox regained the lead in the bottom of the inning when Pedro Ciriaco singled with the bases loaded to score two runs.

The lead extended to 4-2 in the fifth on a two-out RBI single by Jason Repko.

Harvey, 23, was the No. 2 rated prospect in the Mets organization by Baseball America. A first-round pick, seventh overall, out of North Carolina, he is in his second season of professional ball.

Last year, Harvey combined to go 13-5 with a 3.32 earned run average in 26 starts between Single-A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton. His 13 wins and 156 strikeouts led all Mets in the minor leagues.

Along with Harvey, two of the Mets' Top 10 prospects are on the Herd's roster -- righty Jeurys Familia (No. 4) and outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis (No. 7). Satin was the 2011 Organizational Player of the Year.

The Bisons' Opening Day Roster includes 13 players with major league experience and several key players back from last year. The Herd's most valuable pitcher, right-hander Chris Schwinden, returns after striking out 134 last year. Pascucci also returns after being named the team's MVP last year, leading the club in home runs (21) and runs batted in (91). Pascucci ranked second in the International League with 76 walks and ranked ninth in on-base percentage (.375).

The last time the Bisons opened the season against Pawtucket was April 9, 2009 -- the Herd's first game as an affiliate of the Mets. The Red Sox won that game, 6-4, at Coca-Cola Field.

The last time the Bisons opened the season in Pawtucket was April 8, 2004 when the PawSox took a 4-3 win.

Indeed the Herd have not had much success in Rhode Island.

The Bisons were just 4-11 against Pawtucket last season including a 1-6 record at McCoy Stadium. The last time Buffalo won a series in Rhode Island was a two-game sweep of the PawSox, July 9-10, 2009.

The Bisons have not won the season series with Pawtucket since going 10-6 in 2008.

The teams close out their two-game series tonight (6:15 p.m., Radio 1520). Buffalo's home opener will be Wednesday at 2:05 p.m. against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, which kicks off a nine-game homestand.