This time when the Buffalo Bisons took a one-run lead into the ninth inning, they held on and ended a three-game losing skid.
A three-run homer from Caleb Gindl in the second and another impressive performance from starter Jeff Francis helped the Herd to a 3-2 win over the Syracuse Chiefs at Coca-Cola Field Thursday night.
Gregory Infante made things interesting in the ninth, walking two hitters with two outs but struck out Trea Turner to secure the win.
Working on weaknesses: The Herd has not fared well in low-scoring or one-run games this season. They pulled both out on Thursday. Buffalo is now 10-20 in one-run games and 12-33 when they score three or fewer runs.
Trouble in the third: Jeff Francis gave up three straight hits to open the third including a two-run double to Jason Martinson. That ended a 20-inning scoreless streak for Francis. But he responded by striking out the next three to end the inning.
Pounding the zone: Francis struck out 10 batters, the most by a Bisons pitcher this season.
"I’m not out there trying to strike people out. It’s just sometimes it happens when you’re ahead in the count," Francis said. "Maybe you have a breaking ball or if a team’s being hyper aggressive you can play that. It’s not a thing where I realize ‘wow I’ve got a lot of strikeouts, I’ve got to keep trying to strike people out. It’s not part of my game."
Specialty caps: The Bisons will wear specially designed “Stars & Stripes” hats for the sixth straight year. The Herd joins 114 other teams in Minor League Baseball which will wear the caps from New Era Cap Company. The hats, which are for sale at Coca-Cola Field for $29.99, will raise money for the organization Welcome Back Veterans which addresses ongoing needs of military personnel and their families.
Mandated vacation: Manager Gary Allenson will return to the Bisons’ dugout Friday. Allenson missed the last four games taking his Blue Jays-mandated break.
Roster moves: The Toronto Blue Jays released infielder Daric Barton. He played in 27 games for the Herd, hitting .196 (19 for 97) driving in eight runs with two homers. Relief pitcher Bobby Korecky was activated off the disabled list.
Pitchers of record: Francis improved to 3-0 while Espino fell to 2-2. Infante picked up his fourth save.
Team records: The Bisons are 38-42. Syracuse is 28-53.
Time of game: 2:36
Paid attendance: 7,089
Up next: The Bisons close out the homestand against Syracuse at 6:05 p.m. Felix Doubront (1-3, 2.44 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Herd against Taylor Hill (3-2, 4.19). There are limited tickets remaining for the annual Independence Eve celebration featuring a postgame performance from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the largest fireworks display of the season. The Bisons then begin a seven-game, six-day road trip to face Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Rochester.