By Owen O'Brien
The Buffalo Bisons didn’t have many offensive chances, but when they did, Gwinnett Braves catcher Christian Bethancourt silenced any potential rally as the Braves defeated the Bisons, 6-2, at Coca-Cola Field on Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep.
The Bisons looked like they were going get on the board early when Jonathan Diaz and Caleb Gindl opened the game with singles. But Bethancourt threw out Gindl at second base on the back end of a double steal for the first out of the inning and Buffalo failed to score.
In the fourth, Bethancourt threw out Andy Burns at second to complete a “strike ’em out, throw ’em out” double play and put an end to another potential rally.
Pitchers of record: Daniel Norris (1-8) lost his seventh consecutive decision as he allowed six runs (four earned) on six hits in seven innings. Norris is 0-7 in his last nine starts. Alex White (1-0) allowed two runs on five hits in six innings for the victory.
Get out of town: The Bisons will be very happy to say goodbye to the Braves. Buffalo has been swept the last two times Gwinnett came to town and is 4-14 versus Gwinnett since 2013. Buffalo next plays at Gwinnett starting Aug. 7.
No help: The Bisons gave Norris little run support again. The Bisons have scored just 20 runs in Norris’ 10 non-winning starts.
Common theme: The Bisons entered Wednesday with the second-best ERA in the International League (2.93). The offense has struggled, however, which is a key reason the Bisons are five games under .500. Buffalo scored just four runs in the three-game series against the Braves.
Threes are wild: The Braves scored three runs in the third inning with just one hit.
Bisons runs: Sean Ochinko hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning, his first of the season. Jonathan Diaz and Gindl followed with a walk and single, respectively, but Burns grounded out to second to end the inning.
Rest for Hague: Hague (.338, 41 runs, 48 RBIs) wasn’t in the opening lineup card for just the third time in 79 games this season. It was his first off day since April 26 and the Bisons have averaged fewer than two runs without him in the lineup.
Team records: Buffalo (37-42), Gwinnett (40-38).
Time of game: 2:38.
What’s next: The Bisons face Syracuse in a two-game series starting Thursday at 7:05 p.m. Jeff Francis (3-0, 1.71 ERA) takes the hill for the Herd following seven shutout innings against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders Friday. Francis has allowed just one earned run in his last four starts. He tossed eight shutout innings against Syracuse June 21. Paolo Espino (2-1, 1.91 ERA) will start for the Chiefs.