DURHAM, N.C. – The Buffalo Bisons continued to apply the pressure in the playoff race of the International League on Friday night. They just didn’t have anything to show for their efforts.
The Bisons defeated the Durham Bulls, 4-3, before 8,566 in Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Buffalo has gone 6-2 in the month of August so far; the Herd closed July with a 9-2 run.
However, Buffalo apparently won’t gain in the IL wild-card race. Pawtucket and Rochester both won their games on Friday night. The Herd trail Pawtucket by 2½ games and Rochester by 1½ games.
The Bisons couldn’t have asked for a better start to this one. With one out in the top of the first, Ryan Schimpf was hit by a pitch from Durham starter Matt Andriese (11-7). Kevin Pillar singled, which extended his hitting streak to 15 games.
After a strikeout, Cole Gillespie singled to load the bases. A base on balls to Brad Glenn walked in a run, and Adam LaRoche cleared the bases with a double to give Buffalo a 4-0 lead.
The Bulls got back in the game in the fourth inning. Mikie Mahtook opened the frame with a single, and Mike Moore’s single sent Mahtook to third. Wilson Betemit doubled to center to score Mahtook. Ali Solis hit a sacrifice fly to score Moore, and Ray Olmedo later singled to drive home Betemit. Buffalo pitcher Sean Nolan got out of a bases-loaded jam by inducing Robby Price to hit into a double play to end the inning.
Buffalo only had one other hit in the game (Gillespie), but the early explosion held up. Bobby Korecky came in for the save in the ninth inning. He became only the seventh player in the modern Bisons era to reach 20 saves.
Nolan (4-4) earned the victory. He went six innings, allowing the three runs on eight hits. Rob Rasmussen came on for two scoreless innings of relief.
Buffalo has only won four of its last 23 games here, but it has captured two of the last three meetings.
The Bisons continue their series in Durham tonight. P.J. Walters (4-2) goes for the Herd, while Nathan Karns (9-5) will pitch for the Bulls (7:05 p.m., Radio 550 and 1520 AM).