It was a performance that both Valentino Pascucci and the Bisons needed. Both were suffering from early summer slides.
The Bisons had lost seven straight games, their longest skid in two years.
Pascucci was struggling at the plate. He was batting just .176 in June (13 for 74) with three doubles. He was just 1 for 22 in the last eight games, though he was still able to get on base with 10 walks in that stretch.
Still, the Herd needed Pascucci's bat, not just his presence on base.
And Wednesday afternoon, they got it.
He drove in five runs on three doubles to lead the Herd to a 9-4 win over the Louisville Bats at Coca-Cola Field. The outcome ended a nine-game Louisville winning streak.
"Pascucci has been struggling, there's no doubt," manager Wally Backman said. "I think he was more aggressive today. I think he was aggressive early and got some pitches he could handle. He got deep into some counts still but he showed a little more aggressiveness and that's really what I'd like from him because he's the guy that's supposed to drive in runs for us. Not get the walks.
"He's been getting a lot of walks, which isn't a bad thing. But the part of the order that he hits in, he's expected to drive in runs and he was little more aggressive I think in those situations which helped a lot."
Pascucci, who was selected as a reserve to the International League All-Star team earlier on Wednesday, batted fifth and took advantage of good at-bats by Josh Satin and Fred Lewis.
In the second inning, Lewis drew a leadoff walk then scored on a double by Pascucci. In the fifth, Satin and Lewis had back-to-back singles and scored on another Pascucci double. In the sixth, with the bases loaded and one out, Pascucci drilled a double once more, this time to left field to clear the bases.
"I went up there looking for pitches to hit with guys on base," Pascucci said. "I've been hitting balls good. They've just been flying right at people. I don't think I've ever had a streak where I hit as many balls at people. I got through it a little bit by taking a lot of walks. Today, I just found some grass. Finally a line drive didn't go at somebody, it went over somebody's head."
Louisville had taken a 3-1 lead in the third but the Herd tied the game in the bottom of the inning, scoring runs on a triple by Jordany Valdespin and a single by Satin, who extended his hitting streak to seven games.
Rob Johnson put the Herd ahead, 4-3, in the fourth with a solo home run.
While he didn't have the cleanest outing, starter Garrett Olson (3-4) picked up the win, giving up three runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings. He had three walks and five strikeouts for his fourth quality start of the year.
Any win is a good win at this point, but will this one in particular help shake the Herd out of its funk?
"Hopefully so," Backman said. "I know those guys have been playing hard. Nobody's been dogging it out there. They're playing hard. We've run into some bad luck and the only way to change that is to continue to play the game hard."
"It's been a rough stretch for everybody," Pascucci said. "The team hasn't been winning but the guys have been playing hard. … Everybody's been preparing for the games. It's just one of those streaks I guess that kinda comes every year for every team. We got ours out of the way now and we can get back on track."
The Herd was hoping to have Vinny Rottino back from the New York Mets, but the infielder didn't clear waivers. He was claimed by the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Indians designated pitcher Chris Schwinden for assignment. … Wednesday's paid attendance was 6,650. … The series with Louisville continues tonight (7:05 p.m.) with righty Collin McHugh (0-2, 8.10) scheduled to start for the Herd against righty Sean Gallagher (6-4, 5.11). ... The Bisons are now 39-41, second-last in the IL North, trailing the division's leader, Lehigh Valley, by 6 1/2 games.
Bisons 9, Louisville 4
The pitch: Pascucci has 5 RBIs on three doubles. …. Bisons end their seven-game losing streak. … Satin extends hitting streak to seven games.
Fast fact: Olson has his fourth quality start of the season, the second-most on the Bisons.
Next game: Today vs. Louisville, 7:05 p.m. (Red, White & Blue youth jersey giveaway)