It's a familiar pattern but one that Jeurys Familia would like to break.
The starter threw four solid innings for the Buffalo Bisons on Monday night before the wheels came off in the fifth. He gave up five runs, two earned, and took the loss as Norfolk edged the Herd, 5-4. The game was called after five innings and a 52-minute rain delay.
Familia started out well, facing the minimum through three innings. The Bisons had built a 4-0 lead as the rain began to fall at Coca-Cola Field. Three outs and the Bisons would have been in line for an official game win.
But Familia issued a leadoff walk that was followed by a double, error, double and ground out making it a 4-3 game with one out. A fantastic play by Brad Emaus at second got the second out, but Lew Ford crushed a home run to left field to give Norfolk a 5-4 lead.
Familia gave up five runs in the fifth inning, two of them earned, and finished the game with four strikeouts and one walk.
But after the game, Bison manager Wally Backman was most upset about his home field conditions. The game started in clear conditions but the rain kept picking up until it was a downpour in the fourth inning and the mound conditions deteriorated quickly.
"I'm disappointed in what I asked for," Backman said. "With field conditions the way they were getting I wanted some Turface [a dirt-drying agent] put out on the mound when [Familia] went out there in the top of the fifth. The other pitcher [Chris Tillman] had slipped in the bottom of the fourth and they said the field was fine. Not the umpires. It's not an excuse. The mound, it was almost unplayable at one point. We're the home team. If the manager asks for Turface on the field it should be out there. That's the reason that I'm [ticked] off today.
"We also made a big error in that inning which cost us some runs. It was just a frustrating night. We knew the rain was coming. Everyone wanted to get the game in. You give up a five-spot in the fifth and you get a little upset. The conditions weren't good. I wanted the conditions to be as good as they could be when he went out there in the fifth and that didn't happen."
The Herd's offense had built a 4-0 lead through the first four innings. It started in the first when Corey Wimberly led off with a triple then scored when Fred Lewis grounded to second.
The lead went to 2-0 in the second when Dustin Martin had a one-out double and scored on a single by Emaus.
Emaus provided the power in the fourth inning. With two outs, Martin singled then Emaus crushed a ball to left field for his fourth home run of the year. Emaus has been battling for playing time all year.
"Every day at-bats always helps. I'm working every day but it definitely helps to get more at-bats," he said.
Monday's announced attendance was 4,894. The flu is making its way through the Bisons' clubhouse with outfielder Valentino Pascucci the latest victim. He was in Monday's starting lineup in right field, but left the ballpark with flu-like symptoms. Dustin Martin took his spot, going 2 for 2 with two runs scored. Outfielder Matt den Dekker is scheduled to join the Herd today from Double-A Binghamton. The series concludes today at 7:05 p.m. Lefty Garrett Olson (2-3, 4.38 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Herd.
Norfolk 5, Bisons 4 (5 innings)
The Pitch: Bisons give up five runs in the fifth inning. Familia takes the loss. Emaus drives in three runs.
Fast fact: The game was called after the teams played five innings and waited out a 52-minute rain delay.
Next game: Tonight vs. Norfolk, 7:05 p.m. (Hispanic Heritage Night)