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Herd keeps winning but needs some help

MOOSIC, Pa. – Baseball and horse racing are quite different sports, but horse racing jargon most definitely applies to the International League wild-card race.

Teams are entering the final stretch, with the Buffalo Bisons hoping that Pawtucket gives them an opening to pass before they hit the finish line Monday.

The Buffalo Bisons at least made sure they didn’t lose any ground by routing Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 11-3, behind Anthony Gose’s six-RBI night at PNC Field on Thursday. Pawtucket countered with an 8-5 win at Lehigh Valley to maintain its 1½-game lead.

It’s not mission impossible for the Herd, but the situation is getting a little dire with both teams having just four games left.

While the Bisons’ final four games are at Rochester (tonight and Saturday) and IL North Division-leader Syracuse (Sunday and Monday), Pawtucket hosts Syracuse for two games before closing at home against Rochester in a two-game series.

Syracuse’s magic number for clinching the division remains at two games after its loss to the Red Wings on Thursday night.

Gose continued his hot play of late for the Bisons with perhaps the best offensive game of his young career. He went 3 for 5 as his big day included a three-run home run during the Bisons’ four-run second inning. He added a bases-clearing three-run double during the Herd’s six-run third inning.

Gose is hitting .317 in eight games since returning to the Herd from the Blue Jays (and that includes a hitless streak in his first eight at-bats). He is the second Bison this week to have a six-RBI game, joining Brett Wallace, who achieved the feat during his three-homer game in Sunday’s win over Pawtucket.

As impressive as the six RBIs are, that total is nowhere near the team’s modern-era single-game record. Dusty Wathan set that mark back in 2005 when he drove in nine runs against the Toledo Mud Hens.

Kendall Graveman (3-2) scattered seven hits and struck out seven in 5∑ innings to get the win.

Sean Nolin (4-5, 3.42 ERA) will get the start for Buffalo against the Red Wings tonight (7 p.m., TWCSN, Radio 1520).