On a night where the offense flourished, the bullpen locked things down for the Buffalo Bisons in an 8-4 victory over the Syracuse Chiefs on Independence Eve at a jam-packed Coca-Cola Field.
Seventeen of the last 18 Syracuse batters were retired – including 15 of 16 by a trio of Buffalo relievers.
After spot starter Andrew Albers went four innings, Chad Jenkins threw two perfect frames and Blake McFarland followed with two more. Bobby Korecky went the ninth, giving up a one-out single to Dan Butler after Buffalo pitching had set down 15 in a row.
Pregame pomp: Mayor Byron Brown, in conjunction with County Executive Mark Poloncarz, issued a proclamation that dubbed Friday “Maestro Paul Ferington Day” in honor of the longtime Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra conductor. Ferington’s 18th Independence Eve show marked the end of his 30th year.
At the plate: The Bisons erupted for 14 hits. Alex Hassen was 3 for 3 and finished a home run shy of the cycle while Melky Mesa went 3 for 4. Each drove in two runs.
The big bat: Third baseman Matt Hague went 2 for 5 to improve his IL-leading average to .341. His first-inning single was his league-leading 100th hit of the season.
Rules check: Bisons catcher Sean Ochinko inadvertently gave up a run in the Syracuse fourth when he failed to tag Chiefs runner Mario Lisson.
The bases were loaded when Josh Johnson’s chopper to third became the first out as Matt Hague stepped on the bag and fired home. Ochinko then turned and looked at first, perhaps to throw for a triple play attempt, but held the ball and never tagged the runner. With the force removed by Hague, the run counted.
Road not taken: The loss was the Chiefs’ IL-worst 30th of the season on the road. They are 15-24 in NBT Bank Stadium and just 13-30 away from it.
Roster moves: The Toronto Blue Jays purchased the contract of scheduled starter Felix Doubront (1-3, 2.44) and also recalled reliever Ryan Tepara, who has an 0.44 ERA in 11 Triple-A appearances, for the second time this year. Starter Matt Boyd was returned to Buffalo after getting torched for seven runs without recording an out in Thursday’s loss to Boston in Rogers Center.
Pitchers of record: Buffalo reliever Chad Jenkins pitched two perfect innings of relief to improve to 6-2 and take over the team lead in victories. Syracuse starter Taylor Hill was torched for six runs on 11 hits in five innings and fell to 3-3.
Team records: The Bisons are 39-42. Syracuse is 28-54.
Time of game: 2:36
Paid attendance: The crowd of 17,112 was the largest in the minor leagues this season and less than 500 shy of a sellout. Some seats were lost because the right-field party deck was used for the BPO stage.
Up next: The Bisons open a seven-game road trip Saturday night at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with Scott Copeland (4-2) on the mound. The Bisons’ next home game is also against the RailRiders here on July 10.