The popular baseball cliché is that the game is one of mistakes.
Buffalo Bisons starter Scott Copeland made one which cost him a two-run home run.
Gwinnett Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz made one which cost him a one-home run.
And that was the margin of difference as the Braves took 2-1 win over the Bisons at Coca-Cola Field Monday night.
Copeland, who was making his first appearance with the Herd since optioned back from the Blue Jays, had not pitched in nine days.
Still, he started strong spinning three scoreless innings. He issued a one-out walk in the fourth then tripped up against Adonis Garcia.
“I tripped on the pitch actually and left it up and he got it,” Copeland said. “It’s the first time I tripped and there it goes.”
Garcia got hold of the pitch and drove it for two-run shot.
While Copeland shut down the Braves from that point on, giving up only three hits including the home run, the Bisons’ offense wasn’t able to muster much support.
The Herd managed just five hits off Foltynewicz. Two of them came in the fourth when the Bisons loaded the bases with two outs, but Jonathan Diaz struck out to end the rally.
It was Caleb Gindl who capitalized on a high changeup, drilling a solo home run to right field.
Foltynewicz “throws really hard and that’s been what we’ve been getting here lately. A lot of guys are throwing hard,” Gindl said.
“He was throwing me in quite a bit. He was trying to throw me in and I just told myself to look for the ball inside and just react. It was a changeup. He left it up. I don’t think he was probably trying to go there but he just left it up and it was a good pitch to hit.”
That would be the only offense the Bisons could produce, continuing the trend of losing low-scoring, close games.
The Bisons are now 9-20 in one-run games. They’re 11-31 when they score three or fewer runs and have just one win when trailing after eight innings.
“And we got shut out 12 times this year. It’s embarrassing to say that,” hitting coach Richie Hebner said. “We lost some close games but this club, you just play tomorrow night. We only had five hits. There’s only nine hits in that game. I don’t think there were many balls hit hard. Many soft outs.”
The run support for starters has been spotty through the first half of the season. The Bisons are giving starters an average of 3.8 runs per game. In his previous seven starts for the Herd, Copeland has received and average of 3.0 runs. None of that really matters to Copeland.
“You just gotta go up there and do your job, try to keep the defense in it,” Copeland said. “Have short innings to get them back up at bat again. You just compete.”
And Gindl’s philosophy is that it all evens out over the course of the season.
“Copeland goes out there and pitches a great game and we’ll have days like that,” Gindl said of the low offensive output. “Then there will be days when Copeland or someone will go out and give up five-six runs and we’ve got to battle back. It all evens out through the season.”