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Bisons let one get away

Holding on to leads has been a problem for the Buffalo Bisons.

For the fifth straight game, the Herd took a 2-0 first-inning lead. But the Bisons have won just one of those, dropping Friday's meeting with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, 7-5, at Coca-Cola Field.

Friday's game actually featured a 3-0 lead through three innings, but the Herd squandered the early runs.

"We have been up early in some games," said Valentino Pascucci, who went 0 for 4. "That's why we play nine innings, I guess. It's a long game. A lot can happen. We've got to keep putting at-bats together, keep being strong and keep playing."

The starting pitching has been problematic of late. Jeremy Hefner only made it through 4 1/3 innings, giving up five runs -- two of them earned -- on eight hits.

"You've got to be able to pitch ahead in counts," Bisons manager Wally Backman said. "We're getting leads and then we're pitching behind in counts. We can't even get our starters out of the fifth inning. We've got to pitch to more contact. It looks like we pitched away from contact. We've had 15 walks in the last two games. One was intentional, but it's just too many walks. We get the lead and we just haven't been able to hold it so far."

Buffalo built its 3-0 lead on a two-run double by Vinny Rottino and a solo homer by Lucas May.

The Yankees got a run back in the fourth then broke out for four runs in the fifth to build a 5-3 lead. With one out, Kevin Russo doubled, then scored on a double by Ramiro Pena. An error on third baseman Zach Lutz and a walk loaded the bases and a single by Dewayne Wise scored two. A groundout by Colin Curtis plated another run.

In all, the Bisons' pitching staff gave up four earned runs (there were two Bison errors). They combined for five walks while giving up 13 hits.

"We're going to sit and watch some video and see what the pitch sequences were," Backman said. "We questioned some of the pitch sequences [Friday]. It could be the right pitch in the wrong spot, but we're going to look at video."

Wise was a key factor for the Yankees. Aside from going 4 for 5 with two doubles and two runs batted in, he made a spectacular catch in center field, robbing Pascucci of a potential two-run home run for a 5-0 Bison lead in the third.

The catch, in which Wise leaped against the wall and then crashed into it, was reminiscent of his heroics with the Chicago White Sox in 2009. As a defensive replacement in the ninth inning, he made a leaping catch into the wall to preserve a perfect game for Mark Buehrle.

"He plays the game the way it's supposed to be played," Scranton manager Dave Miley said. "He has professional at-bats and the way he runs the bases and the way he plays the outfield. That was a great catch. [The catch with the White Sox] is probably hard to beat. That game was on the line. But that's what he does."

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Lutz extended his hitting streak to eight games with a double in the ninth. The announced paid attendance was 6,273. The homestand continues today with the start of a two-game series with Pawtucket. Lefty Garrett Olson (0-0, 1.50 ERA) is scheduled to start for Buffalo against right-hander Alex Wilson (0-0, 1.80 ERA). Wilson was the minor league Pitcher of the Year in 2011 for the Boston Red Sox organization. Today's promotion is a 25th anniversary season commemorative coin giveaway.

email: amoritz@buffnews.com