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Bisons escape near-collapse

For the first eight-and-a-half innings, everything was coming easy for the Buffalo Bisons. Too easy. The final three outs proved difficult to come by, but the Bisons held on for a 3-2 win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at PNC Field Sunday afternoon.

After Blake McFarland pitched a perfect eighth inning, including two strikeouts, he got into trouble in the ninth with a 3-0 lead. McFarland allowed singles to the first two Rail Riders before being pulled for Gregory Infante.

Infante surrendered back-to-back singles as the nightmare ninth inning was on the verge of becoming a collapse. With the score now 3-1 and the tying run on second, Infante induced a harmless fly out to center, followed by a run-scoring ground out. Infante struck out Nick Noonan to strand the tying run at third allowing the Herd to escape with the win.

Pitchers of record: Felix Doubront (1-3) tossed seven shutout innings in his first victory of the season. Doubront had five strikeouts while allowing four walks and four hits. Infante recorded his third save of the season and second in consecutive games. Kyle Davies dropped to 5-6 for Scranton.

Three is key: The Herd scored all three of their runs in the third inning – highlighted by Matt Hague’s two-run single, which expanded his team-leading total to 48 RBIs. Hague has driven in runs in three of his last four games with 11 multi-RBI games this season.

Bisons going streaking: Sunday’s victory marked the Bisons first three-game winning streak since June 14. If they win Monday, it will be their first four-game winning streak since April 25.

Ochinko’s offense: Catcher Sean Ochinko is 8 for 15 over his four-game hitting streak and is now batting .306 for the season. He also has hits in 12 of his last 14 games.

Team effort: Eight of nine starters reached base for Buffalo. Alex Hassan, the lone Bison who failed to reach base, had his four-game hit streak snapped.

Time of game: 2:28

Paid attendance: 4,270

Records: Buffalo 37-39, Scranton/WB 43-34.

Roster move: McFarland was promoted to Triple-A before the game from Double-A New Hampshire. He led Eastern League relievers with a 12.3 strikeouts-per-nine-innings rate with 41 in 30 innings. He went 2-1 with a 2.10 ERA and 10 saves in Double-A. Sunday was his first career Triple-A game. Colt Hynes was transferred to the Fisher Cats.

What’s next: Scott Copeland (4-1, 1.97 ERA) takes the mound Monday at 7:05 p.m. as the Bisons return to Coca-Cola Field for a five-game homestand. The Herd begin the stand with a three-game series with the Gwinnett Braves. Copeland returns to the hill after a three-start stint with the Blue Jays in which he had an 8.18 ERA in 12∑ innings. Mike Foltynewicz (0-4, 3.86) starts Monday for the Braves. Buffalo hasn’t played Gwinnett (37-38) this season.