Felix Doubront gave up his first two earned runs of the season, but he saw it as perhaps his most successful outing with the Buffalo Bisons this season.
The lefty, two years removed from winning Game Four of the World Series for the Boston Red Sox, continues to work his way back to the Major Leagues.
Saturday night at Coca-Cola Field was another step, mostly because it wasn’t perfect.
Doubront had a shaky second inning, giving up two runs on three hits and a walk. But he settled in after that, facing the minimum over the next four innings.
He took the no-decision against the Rochester Red Wings as the Herd won, 3-2, on a walk-off home run from Brad Glenn in the ninth.
For Doubront, who joined the Bisons on May 13 after spending time in extended spring training to work on shoulder strength and his endurance, had his longest outing of the year. He pitched seven innings, throwing 102 pitches, 63 of them for strikes.
But he was most pleased in the way he was able to adjust and rebound with runners in scoring position, a situation he has not faced much this year. In his first three starts, opponents went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position. Saturday, Rochester went 2 for 6.
“Today was different than before. … I let on so many guys in scoring position,” Doubront said. “I worked more. I focused more. … Today was different, but my approach was the same. Just try to throw strikes and get quick outs.”
Doubront had not given up an earned run in his first 16 innings of work.
Then came the second where two singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out. He gave up a one-out single to Jose Martinez. He then got Doug Bernier to hit a grounder to Jonathan Diaz, but the Herd couldn’t turn the double play and another run scored.
Doubront promptly got the next batter to ground out to first and settled in for an impressive outing. He finished the game giving up six hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
“That was a bad inning,” Doubront said of the second. “Every pitcher has a moment in the game that you have to grind, that you have to really focus and I did. That was the damage that was there for me today. After that inning everything settled down and I started pitching.”
The difference in the third was that he “wasn’t thinking. I came to the third inning and just pitch, just throw strikes and do my job. It’s simple.”
And the fact that he was able to turn it around, to not get flustered, was important for Doubront.
“Two starts ago I was feeling really good and today was like really successful to me, seeing those guys in scoring position, how I handle bases loaded and one out,” Doubront said. “Every game is different. I’m really excited with how I feel right now.”
Asked if he was ready to return to the Major Leagues, he smiled broadly and said, “I’m ready.”