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Error spoils Leroux’s good work as Bisons fall

Chris Leroux was annoyed.

It wasn’t so much that he fell to 0-3 as the pitcher of record in the Buffalo Bisons 6-4 loss to the Scranton/Wilkes-Bare RailRiders at Coca-Cola Field on Wednesday afternoon. That’s baseball.

It was the way in which he gave up his runs that had him smiling through gritted teeth after the game.

“I’d honestly rather them hit three home runs off me then give up the runs the way I did. So, I’m a little annoyed right now,” Leroux said.

The pitching plan was for Arnold Leon to start with a 65-pitch count, with Leroux scheduled to come in and piggyback the start.

Leon lasted only three innings, handing Leroux the ball and a 2-1 deficit in the fourth.

On Leroux’s first pitch of the game, he hit Pete Kozma, who later scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Ben Gamel.

Leroux settled in and pitched a clean fifth and sixth as the Bisons built a 4-3 lead thanks to a two-run home run by Andy Burns and a solo shot by Jon Berti.

Then came the seventh and a leadoff walk to Aaron Judge. A single and a sacrifice grounder later, the game was tied.

In the eighth, knotted 4-4 with two outs, Leroux walked No. 9 hitter Jonathan Diaz. Then he went to pick off Diaz but the ball sailed into right field. Diaz went to third and scored what would be the winning run on a single by Gamel.

“I think I was trying to be too fine,” Leroux said of the walks. “The last walk on Diaz, I threw a 3-2 slider and I should have just thrown a fastball right down the middle and just let him ground out or something. Like I said, I’m a little annoyed right now.”

On the errant throw to first Leroux said, “I had a changeup grip and I threw it anyways.”

In his final line, he gave up three runs (two earned) on four hits. Both of the walks he issued came around to score and he had one strikeout. His five innings was the longest for a Bison reliever this year and a help to a short bullpen after Chad Girodo was recalled to Toronto.

“I knew that I needed to eat up some innings and help the bullpen out a little bit,” Leroux said. “I’m just glad I went five innings. It wasn’t a horrible outing but it wasn’t amazing.”

Manager Gary Allenson seemed content with Leroux’s outing, with the exception of the bad throw to first.

“He did a pretty good job,” Allenson said. “With Leon going three, he went five. Anytime a reliever goes five innings it basically keeps you in the game.”

Leon gave up two runs on seven hits in three innings, throwing 63 pitches. It was his first start with the Herd and his second appearance. On April 27 he relieved Roberto Hernandez, giving up one run on three hits in four innings while throwing 50 pitches.

“Leon didn’t have near the command that he had the first time out and struggled getting the ball down and obviously that hurt him,” Allenson said. “He had 65 pitches to work with and he only went three. He threw 50 in four innings last time. He didn’t have his command. He gave up two and it seemed like we were down five or six so we were fortunate to be in the game.”