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Mier saves Herd with walk-off infield hit

The Buffalo Bisons’ offense stayed hot Friday night and keyed the team’s 10th win in the last 14 games.

Jio Mier got an infield hit with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Bisons a 6-5 victory over the Pawtucket Red Sox.

Poor Pawtucket defense helped the Bisons in the ninth. After Matt Dominguez led off with a single, Red Sox second baseman Jantzen Witte mishandled a grounder to let Domonic Brown reach base. Then shortstop Mike Miller threw too high to first base on a fielder’s choice play. An intentional walk loaded the bases.

“That at-bat I was just trying to put the ball in play, whether I got a hit or a sac-fly,” said Mier, whose grounder to short brought home the run. Mier is batting .165.

“In those type of situations it’s tough for a guy who’s been struggling but sometimes the most important thing you can do is put it in play,” said Herd manager Gary Allenson.

The Bisons have scored 20 runs in the past three games. They scored 19 in their nine previous games.

Pen letdown: Reliver Bo Schultz, on injury rehabilitation assignment from Toronto, let a 5-1 lead get away by allowing three runs in the eighth and one in the ninth. Schultz allowed a walk, two singles and a double in the eighth. With two out in the ninth, he gave up a solo homer to Chris Dominguez.

Records: Buffalo is 21-21, Pawtucket 20-22.

Big inning: The Bisons took control with a four-run sixth inning. Andy Burns hit a two-out, two-run single up the middle. Then Jesus Montero hit a two-run double to the wall in left-center.

Travis status: Blue Jays President Mark Shapiro said Friday in an interview with Toronto Radio 590 that he wants to be careful not to rush Devon Travis’ return to the big leagues. Travis, the Jays’ presumptive starting second baseman, is two games into an injury rehabilitation assignment with the Herd. Shapiro said the fact Travis didn’t have any spring training means the Jays must be patient.

“When he’s ready, he’s so talented it will be clear to all of us,” Shapiro said. “But we need to make sure he has a strong foundation underneath him to remain healthy.”

After going 3 for 4 Thursday, Travis went 0 for 5 Friday.

Good start: Bisons starter Drew Hutchison allowed two hits over seven innings and left with a 5-1 lead but got no decision. Hutchison, who lost out in the battle to be Toronto’s fifth starter in spring training, is 0-2 for the Bisons despite allowing just one or no runs in six of eight starts.

Big Sox arm: Pawtucket starting pitcher Hugh Owens, 23, is a promising Red Sox prospect. He gave up three hits over five innings and left with the game tied, 1-1. Owens is a 6-foot-6, 220-pound left-hander from California who was rated the No. 40 prospect in baseball entering the 2014 season and No. 44 entering 2015 by Baseball America. He made three starts for Boston this year.

But control issues have held him back. He walked five in five innings Friday.

Big gun: Bisons catcher A.J. Jimenez showed off his good arm by throwing out Ryan LaMarre trying to steal second to end the second inning.

Counting the house: Paid attendance was 8,182 at Coca-Cola Field.

Up next: The teams play the third game of the four-game series at 1:05 p.m. Saturday at Coca-Cola Field. It’s Blue Jays Weekend. The first 3,000 fans through the gates receive a Marcus Stroman bobblehead. The Bisons will wear Toronto-style baby-blue throwback uniforms. Scott Diamond (3-3, 2.39) will pitch for Buffalo against Sean O’Sullivan (2-2, 3.00).

On Sunday: Former Blue Jays stars Jesse Barfield and Devon White will sign autographs from noon to 1:30 p.m. First pitch is 1:05 p.m. The first 3,000 fans will get a Blue Jays pennant.