The Buffalo Bisons finally gave their pitchers some run support and the staff responded with a stellar outing.
Scott Copeland, Jeff Francis, Colt Hynes and Bobby Korecky combined to throw a three-hit shutout as the Herd defeated the Louisville Bats, 4-0, at Louisville Slugger Field on Thursday night.
The Herd took an early 3-0 lead while Copeland shook off some rust and the bullpen closed out the win.
Finally on the mound: While Scott Copeland was earning promotions to Toronto, he wasn't getting any actual game action. That meant the right-hander had not started a ballgame since May 14. He pitched 3 2/3 innings out of the Bisons bullpen on May 29 but found his way back to the starting rotation Thursday. He walked two in the first inning, but settled in and retired eight straight. Copeland pitched five scoreless innings, giving up two hits and two walks with five strikeouts. He threw 64 pitches, 40 for strikes.
From the bullpen: Francis threw two hitless innings. Hynes pitched the eighth, giving up one walk with two strikeouts. Korecky closed out the ninth, giving up a leadoff hit before getting a strikeout, fly out and strikeout, to secure the win.
Early lead: The Herd took a 1-0 lead in the third when a sacrifice fly to center by Matt Hague scored Sean Ochinko. The Bisons went up 3-0 in the fourth on RBI singles from Ochinko and Jonathan Diaz.
Add another: Chris Dickerson extended the Herd's lead to 4-0 with an RBI single in the seventh which scored Diaz.
Speaking of Diaz: The shortstop has dazzled with defense but has struggled with his bat. He has spent a good deal of the season hitting below .200 but finished Thursday at .220 after going 3 for 3 with an RBI and run scored.
Better series start: The last time the Bisons met Louisville, the Bats won the first two games at Coca-Cola Field (9-7 and 5-2) to open up May and give the Bats their first series win in Buffalo since 2008. The Herd won the season finale, 3-2. With Thursday's win, the season series is now even at 2-2.
Roster moves: The Bisons activated Copeland and catcher Josh Thole for Thursday's game after they were optioned by the Blue Jays on Tuesday. Left-handed pitcher Luis Perez was placed on the temporarily inactive list (retroactive to June 3) and catcher A.J. Jimenez was placed on the disabled list.
Pitchers of record: Copeland gets the win to move to 4-1 with a 1.97 ERA. David Holmberg (3-4) took the loss, giving up four runs (three earned) on eight hits.
Time of game: 2:23
Paid Attendance: 7,835
Records: The Bisons are 27-27. Louisville is 28-26.
Up next: The Bisons and Bats continue their series at Louisville Slugger Field at 7:05 p.m. Friday. Lefty Felix Doubront (0-0, 0.82) is scheduled to start against righty Jon Moscot (7-1, 3.15). The scheduled rotation for the remainder of this series for the Herd is Randy Wolf (4-1, 1.93) and Andrew Albers (2-7, 3.64).