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Bisons’ bats take a nap in loss to Norfolk

The potent offense the Bisons found on the road didn’t make it back to Buffalo Monday night. The Herd scattered six hits but couldn’t find a way to bring a runner around, suffering a 3-0 loss to the Norfolk Tides at Coca-Cola Field.

It was the second straight loss for the Herd, their first back-to-back losses since dropping the first two games of the season.

Falling behind: The Bisons trailed early as Norfolk took a 2-0 lead in the third. The combination of fielder’s choice, back-to-back singles and an RBI groundout plated a pair for the Tides. An RBI double from Nolan Reimold in the top of the ninth gave the Tides some extra cushion.

Thrown out at third: In the second inning, Andy Burns led off with a single for the Herd. With one out he tried for third on a single to right by Brad Glenn but was thrown out. Burns is an aggressive base runner and at the time in the scoreless game it seemed like a good gamble to take. But that was the closest the Herd came to home plate. The Bisons never advanced a runner past second base.

Defensive blunder: It was a strange play which ended the Herd’s streak of 11 games without an error. In the first inning with two out and a runner on first Dariel Alvarez chopped a ball up the third base line. It appeared to go foul before bouncing into the stands, but home plate umpire Jonathan Bailey ruled it a fair ball. That became a two-base error on third baseman Burns, who never played the ball.

Enjoying his Triple-A stay: In his first eight games in Triple-A, Burns has had some impressive performances at the plate. The infielder extended his hitting streak to four games with two singles and a double on Monday.

Starters on point: Scott Copeland gave up two runs in his first loss of the season, but he continued a solid trend by the Herd’s rotation. Buffalo starters have allowed three or fewer runs in 15 of 18 games this season.

“He was getting behind everybody. He wasn’t throwing strike one,” Bisons’ manager Gary Allenson said of Copeland’s outing. “They didn’t hit him hard but they hit them where they needed to. … I think the factor in the game was their pitching more than anything else.”

Free pass: Heading into Monday’s game, the Bisons were the best team in the International League when it came to walks. The pitching staff had thrown the fewest bases on balls (38) while hitters had drawn the most walks (74). In Monday’s game, Herd pitchers walked four while the Bisons batters drew three.

Roster moves: Left-handed pitcher Luis Perez was promoted to the Bisons from Double-A New Hampshire while right-handed pitcher Austin Bibens-Dirkx was transferred to the Fisher Cats. The 30-year-old Perez has made six scoreless appearances out of the bullpen for New Hampshire this season. He allowed six hits and five walks with six strikeouts. Perez did not pitch last season, recovering from surgery to remove scar tissue in his left elbow.

Pitchers of record: T.J. McFarland (1-2) picked up the win for the Tides while Oliver Drake picked up the save, pitching a scoreless ninth. Copeland (2-1) took the loss, giving up two runs on five hits with three walks and one strikeout in five innings.

Time of game: 2:43. Paid attendance: 4,387.

Records: Bisons 12-6, Norfolk 10-8.

Next up: The series continues Tuesday at 6:05 p.m. at Coca-Cola Field. Lefty Randy Wolf (3-0, 2.25 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Herd. Norfolk will counter with Zach Davies (1-0, 1.80).