Avisail Garcia hit a two-run homer in the first inning and right-hander Chad Volstad pitched shutout ball for eight innings Monday night in the Charlotte Knights’ 3-0 victory over the Buffalo Bisons at BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte, N.C.
The Bisons suffered their 13th shutout loss of the season and 10th on the road as they managed just five hits, four of them singles, against Volstad and Charlotte closer Blake Smith, who earned his first save with the Knights.
With a second straight loss to the Knights in the books, the Bisons head for Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, Ga., to face the Gwinnett Braves in the opener of a three-game series Tuesday night. Gwinnett swept four games from the Herd at Coca-Cola Field last month.
Early trouble: Garcia, down on a rehab assignment from the Chicago White Sox, hit his first home of the season for the Knights off Bisons starter Chris Leroux (8-10) after a single by Leury Garcia and a walk to Jake Peter in the first inning. Garcia was caught stealing while Peter was at bat.
Charlotte added a run in the fourth when Alex Avila scored from second on Adam Engel’s ground-ball single to center field that deflected off the glove of Bisons second baseman Andy Burns.
No threat: Only one Bisons base runner got as far as second base for eight innings. Domonic Brown doubled with one out in the fourth but advanced no farther. In the ninth, a leadoff single by Matt Dominguez and an error put Bisons at first and third with no outs, but Smith struck out Chris Colabello, got Junior Lake on a pop-out and A.J. Jimenez on a soft grounder to the pitcher.
Traffic control: A.J. Jimenez of the Bisons gunned down two attempted steals by Charlotte base runners. He’s thrown out 24 of 71 for a .338 percentage.
Still alive: Bisons designate hitter Jesus Montero extended his hit streak, longest active in the International league, to 13 games with a leadoff single in the seventh.
Looking ahead: Right-hander Mike Bolsinger (1-2, 5.68) will start the series opener at Gwinnett Tuesday night (Radio 1520, 7:05 p.m.) against righty Aaron Blair (4-4, 4.59) of the Braves.
Looking way ahead: The Bisons announced their 2017 schedule on Monday. They will open the season with an eight-game home stand, starting April 6 against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. The 2016 home opener did not come until April 14.