The Buffalo Bisons had averaged two runs per game in their first three starts. Jesus Montero took care of raising that average single-handedly on Sunday afternoon.
Montero had four hits and drove in five runs as the Bisons exploded in a 9-1 win over the Pawtucket Red Sox at McCoy Stadium in Rhode Island. The win gave the Herd a split of their four-game series with the PawSox.
Montero, the Bisons’ designated hitter, had his biggest hit in the third inning. The game was tied, 1-1, with the based loaded. Montero drilled an 0-1 pitch down the left-field line. All three runners came around to score for a 4-1 Buffalo lead.
Two innings later, Montero hit the first Bisons’ homer of the season. It was a line drive that just cleared the wall in left field. The DH also had a double in the first inning and a single and a run scored in the ninth.
Good start: The Herd has had good starting pitching so far in 2016, and Sunday was no exception. Wade LeBlanc allowed four hits and one run in five innings to pick up the win. LeBlanc walked two and struck out two. Four different relief pitchers took over from there, pitching an inning each. Pat Venditte might have been the most effective, setting down the PawSox 1-2-3 with two strikeouts.
More offense: The 4-5-6 batters did almost all of the damage for Buffalo. Montero, Casey Kotchman and Junior Lake combined for eight of the Herd’s nine hits, drove in six runs and scored four runs. Six Bisons batters walked, while 10 struck out.
Rebounding: Christian Vazquez of Pawtucket, considered one of the most promising defensive catchers in all of baseball, had three hits and drove in the only Red Sox run. Vazquez missed much of the 2015 season because of an injury.
Change of scenery: It’s on to Syracuse for the Bisons, as they start a three-game series there. Buffalo’s pitching staff became scrambled when starter Scott Copeland was put on the temporarily inactive list. The Bisons have not named a starter for Monday’s game (6:30 p.m., Radio 1520 AM). Taylor Hill is scheduled to get the start for Syracuse. Buffalo’s home opener will be played on Thursday.