It was a long struggle, but the Buffalo Bisons are back to .500 again.
The Herd (43-43) got back to break-even in a big way Tuesday night, routing the Rochester Red Wings, 15-1, at Frontier Field in the opener of a three-game series in Rochester. Last time Buffalo was even for the season was June 8, when the Bisons were 28-28. It was the sixth win in the last seven games for the suddenly potent Herd.
For the second night in a row the Bisons went well into double figures in base hits. After banging out 14 in winning the series finale at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Monday night, they hit a season high with 21 against the Red Wings.
Daniel Norris (2-7) was the beneficiary of all that support. The 22-year-old left-hander from Tennessee snapped a seven-game losing streak and picked up his first road win in his fifth start away from Coca-Cola Field. Norris struck out eight and yielded no walks for the first time this season in his seven innings. One of the four hits for the Wings was solo home run by Oswaldo Arcia in the fifth inning. After receiving only 2.4 runs of support his first 11 starts, Norris left with a 12-run lead in the eighth inning.
Hot bats: Once again the Bisons got a big night at the plate outside the middle of the batting order. Tuesday, it was No. 6 hitter Sean Ochinko who was 4 for 6 with three RBIs. Ochinko's second home run of the season got Buffalo off to a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Monday night, the spark came from leadoff man Melky Mesa who reached base four times with a pair of doubles and two walks. Mesa had two more doubles on Tuesday giving him six in his last six games and drove in three runs as he went 3 for 6. The Bisons got hits from every slot in the batting order except from cleanup hitter Luke Scott.
Hague watch: International League batting leader Matt Hague made it 2-0 with a solo home run in the third and was 2 for 5 with a pair of runs scored. Hague raised his batting average to .341 with his team-high 33rd multi-hit game. He also leads the league in hits (107) and on-base percentage (.426) and has 52 RBIs, third in the IL.
Big innings: The Bisons broke the game open with five runs in the fifth inning and turned it into a rout with four in the seventh
Attendance: 3,409 took in the game which started an hour late after the rain that swept through Rochester. It was the Bisons first appearance at Frontier Field since they split a pair of 2-0 games on April 11 and 12.
What's next: The Bisons have not announced their starter for Wednesday night's game (Radio 1520, 7 p.m.) while right-hander Jose Berrios (0-0, 6.35) is the probably starter for the Wings.