Taking advantage of early walks, the Buffalo Bisons slowly built a lead and closed out their series against the Syracuse Chiefs with a 3-1 win at Coca-Cola Field Thursday afternoon.
The Herd scored single runs in the first, third and fourth innings to build a 3-0 lead. Syracuse got a run back in the fifth but the bullpen closed out the game.
With the win, the Bisons are above .500 for the first time since June 1 when they were 26-25. They remain three games back of Rochester in the International League's North Division. Those clubs meet eight more times this season.
Sanchez in relief: Aaron Sanchez made his second appearance out of the bullpen for the Bisons, coming on to pitch the eighth. He issued a one-out walk, although he battled back into the at-bat. Sanchez rebounded by getting the next batter to ground into a double play ending the inning. He threw 14 pitches, six for strikes.
Bisons manager Gary Allenson said his control was "better. Strike one and then he yanked a couple balls away. I think for him, and he doesn’t have to try and throw it hard. He just has to let it go. Just release it, back off a little bit. Almost like you’re playing catch. Instead of 97 it could be 94 with command."
Using his speed: Dalton Pompey showed why he’s a dynamic player with tons of potential. To lead off the first, he popped up to shallow left center field, but the Syracuse defense lost track of the ball and it fell in. Pompey never stopped running and turned the blooper into a double. He later scored on a double from Alex Hassan. In the third, he drew a lead-off walk and stole second. He moved to third on a ground out from Jon Berti and scored on a ground out from Matt Hague.
Manufacturing runs: Pompey turned a lead-off walk into a run in the third and Melky Mesa did the same in the fourth. Mesa drew a walk, stole second, took third on a ground out to first by Caleb Gindl and scored on a sacrifice to left by Sean Ochinko.
The closer: Bobby Korecky pitched the ninth inning for the Bisons in their 4-3 win over Syracuse Wednesday night. He picked up the save – his seventh of the season and 29th over three seasons with the Herd. He trails righty Fernando Cabrera by one for most career saves in the team’s modern era.
Roster moves: Then on Thursday, Korecky was placed on the disabled list as pitcher Jeff Francis was activated off the temporary inactive list after his gold-medal stint for Canada at the Pan Am Games.
Pitchers of record: Scott Copeland (7-3) gave up one unearned run in the win, pitching 6 2/3 innings. He scattered six hits with two walks and five strikeouts. A.J. Cole (1-5) gave up three runs on three hits with four walks in five innings for Syracuse.
Time of game: 2:25.
Paid attendance: 11,302.
Records: The Bisons improve to 50-49. Syracuse is 39-61.
Next up: The Bisons start a seven-game road trip Friday, kicking off a three-game series at Pawtucket at 7:05 p.m. Lefty Matt Boyd (2-1, 3.38) is scheduled to start for the Herd while the probable for the PawSox is righty Zeke Spruill (4-5, 5.16).