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Bisons come out bombing Baseball: Homers power Herd to record-setting win on Opening Day

So which team should we refer to as the Baby Bombers?

Certainly not the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. Not the way the Buffalo Bisons peppered prodigious pokes all over Coca-Cola Field on Wednesday afternoon.

With an offensive outburst unmatched in 25 home openers downtown, the Bisons launched four home runs and cruised to a 12-3 win over Scranton before an announced crowd of 10,905.

Third baseman Zach Lutz unleashed a pair of bombs to left field that cleared the screen -- with his two-run shot in the fourth proudly displayed by an interloper trying to watch the game from near the adjacent New York State Thruway ramp.

Jordany Valdespin added a two-run bolt over the party deck into the service parking lot in right and Valentino Pascucci added a two-run screamer into the screen. Both of those also came in the fourth as the Bisons exploded for seven runs to take a 9-3 lead against 6-foot-8 Scranton right-hander Dellin Betances, one of the New York Yankees' top pitching prospects.

The Bisons improved to 4-3 and lead the International League with 10 home runs in those seven games.

"We got guys who can swing the bats, can hit home runs. We've got guys who can hit for average as well," said first-year manager Wally Backman. "It's exciting when they play the way they played today and they're capable of doing that pretty much on a consistent basis."

Pascucci leads the league with four homers, pushing his career total in parts of three seasons in Buffalo to 42. That's good for a tie for 10th place in the modern era with Russ Morman and Tom Prince, whose first in Buffalo was the only run in the 1-0 win over Denver at the stadium inaugural on April 14, 1988.

"It's just one of those things where home runs usually come in streaks," said Pascucci, Buffalo's most valuable player last season. "I hit one at the end of spring training, and it's carried over for me into the season."

The 12 runs broke the record for a home opener downtown, set in a 10-8 win over Pawtucket in 2003. The nine-run margin was also a record, besting a 9-1 win over Columbus in 2006.

The talk of the day was Lutz, the 25-year-old third baseman who battled a slew of injuries here last year and still hit 11 home runs. Wednesday's game was his first multi-home run contest since 2010 at Double-A Binghamton.

"Lutzie has got thunder in that bat," Backman said. "Maybe we better check that if we had an X-ray machine."

"He just left a bunch of pitches up in the zone, and that's what we were looking for," Lutz said of Betances, who was torched for eight runs in 3 1/3 innings. "He's one of their top prospects and with a guy like that we don't want to see too many pitches and get into his zone.

"We don't want to see a lot of his offspeeds. He's got a good breaking ball, good change-up. We want to see that fastball and go from there."

Lutz didn't notice when the BisonsTV HD Board showed replays of the fan on Oak Street waving into the park with his second home run ball. A few players in the Buffalo dugout did and gave him a few ribs.

"If you hit a ball that far, you deserve a little bit," Pascucci said. "It's always in good fun."

And fun was the word of the day Wednesday. The Bisons had 12 hits, three by shortstop Omar Quintanilla, and worked 10 walks. Starter Jeurys Familia battled through five innings for his first Triple-A win and the bullpen added four innings of one-hit ball.

The weather was even fun in an odd way. It was a chilly, 46-degree day that started with rain, turned to sunshine by the first pitch, included a couple of brief sunshowers and then deteriorated into a torrential downpour and sleet storm as Fernando Cabrera got the final out.

All in all, just about a perfect day for Backman's first home game as a Triple-A skipper.

"It was cold this morning, then the sun came out and it was nice," said a smiling Backman. "Then it started snowing in the end. So hey. Welcome to Buffalo."