The Buffalo Bisons completed the series win over the Durham Bulls with a 3-0 win at Durham Bulls Athletic Park Thursday afternoon.
It was the second shutout in the series for the Herd and just the third this season for the Bisons’ pitching staff.
The tone was set by starter Wade LeBlanc, who moved to 4-1 pitching 6 scoreless innings. He had six strikeouts and no walks, but did give up a season-high nine hits in the outing. Still, he and the defense kept the Bulls off the scoreboard as Durham stranded 11 runners and went just 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position.
Durham outhit the Bisons, 10-6, but the Bisons found timely hitting. Buffalo took a 1-0 lead in the third on an RBI single from Dalton Pompey. The Bisons added two in the sixth, taking advantage of a fielding error to score one run then plating another on a Casey Kotchman single.
Pitching staff shines: LeBlanc picked up the win and lowered his earned run average to 1.88. He now has struck out at least six batters in his last six starts. Ben Rowen came on for LeBlanc with two on in the bottom of the seventh and punched out back-to-back batters to end the frame. The submariner gave up a one-out double in the eighth, but kept the Bulls off the board, inducing a pop-up and ground ball. David Aardsma pitched a perfect ninth to pick up his team-leading fifth save.
Hard to score against: The Bisons’ pitching staff has now allowed just three earned runs over its last six games.
Nice day for No. 9: Shortstop Jio Mier had the best day at the plate for the Bisons. Hitting in the No. 9 spot, he reached base in all three of his at-bats, going 2 for 2 with a walk. Mier is hitting .175.
Unearned runs: The Bisons took advantage of a Durham error in the sixth to take a 3-0 lead. Mier led off with a single and moved to third on a base hit from Darrell Ceciliani. Jesus Montero then ripped a ball at second baseman Nick Franklin, who bobbled the shot. That allowed Mier to score and extended the inning. Kotchman followed up with a single to right that was deep enough to bring home Ceciliani without a throw.
Hit streak: Pompey’s single in the third extended the outfielder’s hitting streak to five games.
Off the DL: Ceciliani got his first start since April 10. The centerfielder was activated for Wednesday’s game and was a pinch hitter for the Herd in a 3-2 loss. Thursday he went 1 for 4.
Series win in Durham: The Bisons went 3-1 in the series against the Bulls for just their second series win in Durham in the last eight years. The last time the Bisons won a series in Durham they went 3-1 against the Bulls in 2014.
Up next: The Bisons continue their road trip with a three-game series at Norfolk. Friday’s game (7:05 p.m.) is scheduled to feature Bisons righty Roberto Hernandez (1-1, 1.84) vs. Tides’ righty David Hale (0-0, 3.97). Saturday’s starters are TBA for both teams while Drew Hutchison (0-1, 3.62) is scheduled to go for the Herd on Sunday. The Bisons return to Coca-Cola Field Monday for a seven-game homestand.