ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A four-run seventh inning, capped by a three-run home run by George Kottaras, helped the Buffalo Bisons to a 5-0 victory over Lehigh Valley before a sellout crowd of 10,100 on Saturday night at Coca-Cola Park.
Kottaras also pushed a run across in the ninth to finish with four RBIs. The win leaves the Bisons 2½ games behind Pawtucket in the wild-card race.
The IronPigs loaded the bases in the ninth inning with one out, but could not score in losing their fifth in a row. They left nine on base and had just five hits against Bison pitching. It was the Herd’s fifth shutout victory of the season.
Bison starter Scott Copeland (2-0) pitched seven shutout innings, giving up four hits with six strikeouts. It was just Copeland’s second career Triple-A start. In his debut on Monday he threw seven shutout innings to beat Norfolk.
Herd outfielder Kevin Pillar, who had his 21-game hitting streak snapped on Friday, started a new streak with three hits, including his IL-leading 37th double, to push his batting average to .328. Tony Gwynn Jr. had two of the IronPigs’ five hits.
The Herd looks for a three-game sweep of the series tonight (5:35 p.m., Radio 1520 AM), sending Kendall Graveman (1-2, 1.42) to the mound to face Jeff Manship (0-0. 4.50). Buffalo is 12-3 against the Iron Pigs this season.
Toronto announced before its game Saturday against Chicago that it recalled right-hander Kyle Drabek from the Herd. Toronto’s bullpen needed help after it used six relievers in Friday night’s 11-5 loss to the White Sox. Chad Jenkins pitched 2∏ innings in the series opener in Chicago and was optioned to Buffalo after the game.
Drabek, 26, began the year in Buffalo’s rotation, but moved to the bullpen in mid-June. He had a 3-1 record with a 2.77 ERA in 16 games.