The Buffalo Bisons hit the seven-run mark for the second straight game – a first this season – and stayed on a roll Thursday night.
Buffalo defeated the Pawtucket Red Sox, 7-5, for its ninth win in the last 13 games. The Herd ranks third in the International League in pitching and 13th out of 14 in batting.
“Well, we've saved our strength for the most part the first 38 games, so it's about time we broke out,” said Bisons manager Gary Allenson. “You start swinging the bats and getting it from a good portion of everybody, it becomes contagious.”
The Bisons also won by 7-5 over Toledo on Wednesday.
Records: Buffalo and Pawtucket both are 20-21.
Big hitters: Dononic Brown hit a solo home run, Darrell Ceciliani had a two-run double and Devon Travis had three hits to lead the Buffalo attack.
Another save: After taking a 7-5 lead in the fourth, Buffalo got four scoreless innings of relief from the trio of Colt Hynes, Ben Rowen and Dustin Antolin. The latter got the save. Buffalo has a league-best 15 saves in 22 save opportunities.
“That's because the games we win are always close,” Allenson said.
Winning pitcher: Starter Chris Leroux (2-3) got the win, yielding six hits and five runs over five innings. He got out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth by striking out Pawtucket’s leading hitter, Bryce Brentz.
“His last start against Norfolk, his slider was really crisp,” Allenson said. “He didn't have the same slider tonight and was using it too much. He's got a good sinker, a good two-seamer. . . . He made two mistakes tonight on 0-2 pitches, one for a three-run homer and one for an RBI double. But he survived.”
Big inning: The Bisons’ four-run fourth got started when Junior Lake led off with a double down the left-field line. Travis brought him home with a sharp single to left. After Pawtucket shortstop Deven Marrero made a bad throw on a grounder for an error, Darrell Ceciliani drove a liner off the wall in left center to bring home both runners. Then Jesus Montero hit a liner off the wall in center to send home Ceciliani.
Early deficit: The Bisons fell behind, 4-0, in the first after Allen Craig hit his first homer of the season, a three-run shot. He sent a high breaking ball from Leroux with the wind to right field. Brentz brought the first run home with a single through the hole between first and second.
Trending: Pawtucket’s Marrero is in a 4 for 42 slump. . . . Buffalo’s Casey Kotchman has been on base in 26 of his 32 starts. . . . Buffalo is 8-10 at home.
Well-rested: Mike McCarthy, 28, was the spot starter for the PawSox. He had not appeared in a game in 25 days, since a start in Double-A Portland on April 23. He gave up seven runs (six earned) and nine hits in 3 1-3 innings.
Counting the house: Paid attendance was 5,090 at Coca-Cola Field.
Up next: The teams play the second game of a four-game series at 6:05 p.m. Friday at Coca-Cola Field. Drew Hutchison (0-2, 3.05) will start for the Bisons against Henry Owens (3-1 2.70). The 23-year-old Owens, 6-6 and 220, has made three starts for Boston this season. But he has 17 walks in 30 innings with the PawSox.