If there's a theme with good hitting on the Buffalo Bisons roster this season, it's patience. Taking time at the plate has been key for Herd hitters up and down the lineup. Count Vinny Rottino among those.
Rottino extended his hitting streak to 10 games by belting out the game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth and the Herd defeated Rochester, 4-3, at Coca-Cola Field Saturday afternoon.
"I just try not to do too much," Rottino said. "When I try to do too much, I get out of my swing and swing at pitches out of the zone, out of my zone really. I'm just trying to stay within myself."
With the game knotted, 3-3, Omar Quintanilla was hit by a pitch by Rochester reliever Esmerling Vazquez to lead off the bottom of the ninth. An intentional walk to Bobby Scales and a walk drawn by Valentino Pascucci loaded the bases with one out. Josh Satin struck out, setting up Rottino. The left fielder drilled the 2-2 pitch up the middle for the game-winning RBI.
"Vinny's at-bat really showed his patience," Bison manager Wally Backman said. "He waited for a pitch he could really hit. He wasn't trying to do too much with it, just drive the ball through the middle, which he did. That's the sign of a veteran getting the job done, especially late in the game like that."
Fans who were hoping to catch Washington Nationals prospect Bryce Harper when Syracuse comes to town next week will be disappointed. The power-hitting No. 1 pick from the 2010 draft was called up Saturday to make his major league debut for the Nationals in Los Angeles. The callup comes after Ryan Zimmerman went on the disabled list.
The 19-year-old Harper, considered baseball's best prospect, was batting .250 with one home run and four RBIs for Syracuse. That one homer came against Jeurys Familia of the Bisons in the opener of a doubleheader last Sunday in Syracuse.
"I like him," Backman said about Harper. "He's a kid who really is going to be a good player at some point in time. I think personally it's a little early, from what I've seen, but he's a 19-year old kid with a lot of tools. He's going to get better every year. He's going to have to work on handling the outer half of the plate right now."
The series continues today (1:05 p.m., Radio 1520 AM) with right-hander Dylan Owen (1-1, 4.02 ERA) scheduled to start for the Herd against lefty Scott Diamond (4-0, 1.07). The announced attendance Saturday was 5,726.