ALLENTOWN, Pa. – When a team is in a playoff race, every loss seems like a painful kick to the gut. Good thing the Buffalo Bisons have today off to recover from the swift boot that floored them Sunday night at Coca-Cola Park.
With the Herd on the verge of returning home for their final homestand of the season with a sweep of Lehigh Valley in hand, the IronPigs fashioned a two-out rally against closer Bobby Korecky to walk off with a 3-2 win before 9,776. Freddy Galvis’ single plated Nate Spears to pull the IronPigs within a run. Maikel Franco followed with a two-run homer to left that spoiled another great pitching effort by a Bisons starter.
The Herd trail International League wild-card leader Pawtucket by 2ø games. The PawSox lost at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday.
Buffalo starters came into Sunday’s game with a 1.63 earned-run average in 16 games, yielding just 71 hits and striking out 87 in 93∏ innings. Those numbers improved thanks to the effort of righty Kendall Graveman, who earned his first Triple-A win last Tuesday against Norfolk. On Sunday, Graveman struck out four and scattered four hits against no walks in seven innings. It’s his second straight start of seven innings without giving up a run.
Sergio Santos followed with a scoreless eighth, but the IronPigs’ Spears reached on an infield hit to lead off the ninth. A strikeout and groundout gave the Herd hope of winning for the 21st time in their last 28 games. Galvis and Franco had other ideas, though, as Lehigh Valley beat Buffalo for just the fourth time in 16 meetings.
The Herd return to action Tuesday with a two-game series against fellow International League wild-card contender Rochester, which is 3 games behind the Sox. This is the first of eight straight home games at Coca-Cola Field, as the final homestand concludes with a four-game set against the PawSox.