The Buffalo Bisons turned to the dramatics Sunday afternoon, scoring four runs in the bottom of the ninth for a 5-4 win over Lehigh Valley.
Sean Ochinko had the game-winning two-run double with two outs. The win was the sixth straight for the Herd, who finish their homestand 6-1.
The comeback: Trailing, 4-1 with two outs in the ninth, the Herd began their rally as Ezequiel Carrera and Andy Burns drew back-to-back walks. Then came back-to-back singles to center from Matt Hague and Chris Colabello to score both cutting the lead to 4-3. Andy Wilkins drew a walk and with runners on first and second Ochinko drilled the first pitch down the left field line driving in two runs.
The spot start: Austin Bibens-Dirkx started the season on the disabled list and came off just in time to take a spot start for the Herd. He came out dealing, striking out five of the first six hitters he faced. Then came the third when he gave up two hits and two walks, one with the bases loaded which tied the game. He worked out of the jam with a strikeout and a groundout to limit the damage to one run.
More on Bibens-Dirkx: He finished the game giving up the one run on three hits with two walks and six strikeouts in five innings of work. He started the season on the disabled list and made his first appearance of the season on Sunday. Last year he split time between Buffalo and Double-A New Hampshire. With the Herd, he made four spot starts gong 1-1 with a 5.82 ERA in those outings.
Defensive play of the game: In the eighth inning with the IronPigs in front, 3-1 and threatening to blow the game open, Jonathan Diaz made a diving play at second base and fired to home plate for the force out. At the time it was a solid play, yet another from the infielder who has played outstanding defense this homestand, but didn’t feel like much of a factor in the game. That is until the Herd rallied in the ninth and the saved run made a huge difference.
First run scored: The Bisons scored the game’s first run in the first inning as Ezequiel Carrera led off with a double, moved to third on a ground out and scored when Matt Hague reached base on a throwing error by IronPigs shortstop Edgar Duran. The Bisons are now 6-1 when they score the first run.
On-base streak: Chris Colabello has now reached base in each of the nine games he’s played this year. He first got on base with via intentional walk in the fifth then with his RBI single in the ninth.
Roster moves: The Blue Jays selected the contract of starting pitcher Jeff Francis Sunday morning while the club optioned reliever Colt Hynes to the Herd. Francis made on start for the Bisons, throwing five shutout innings in a win on Wednesday. Hynes posted a 6.00 ERA in five outings and three innings of work for the Blue Jays. Last year with the Bisons, he went 0-1 with 1.04 ERA with seven strikeouts and one walk in 8 2/3 innings pitched.
Pitchers of record: Bobby Korecky (1-0) picked up the win, giving up one run on one hit with a walk in the ninth. Colton Murray took the loss and was credited with the blown save. Murray gave up four runs on three hits with three walks in the ninth inning.
Time of game: 2:59
Paid attendance: 5,554
Records: Bisons 6-4, Lehigh Valley 4-7.
Next up: The Bisons start a seven-game road trip beginning with a three-game series in Pawtucket. The teams meet in McCoy Stadium at 6:15 Monday with Andrew Albers (1-1, 3.38) scheduled to start for the Herd.