The Buffalo Bisons won for the second time in the last nine games, holding on for a 3-2 win over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Coca-Cola Field Monday night.
The Herd scored single runs in the first, fourth and fifth and got an impressive start from righty Casey Lawrence.
Quality start: Lawrence threw seven innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on six hits. He struck out five and continued his low walk total, giving up just one. He has walked two or fewer batters in each of his last 10 outings. Lawrence improved to 5-5 with a 3.71 ERA.
Allenson on Lawrence: "He pitches at the knees very well, very effectively and mixed it up just enough," Bisons manager Gary Allenson said. "When you throw the ball to the outer half around the knees, it’s tough to put a good swing on the ball."
Pitching to contact: Lawrence was able to keep the ball low because the Bisons' defense has been solid. Despite two fielding errors, the Herd's infielders made some crafty plays including turning two double plays.
"You saw some of the plays made tonight out there by (Ryan) Goins and (Andy Burns)," Lawerence said. "The double plays up the middle. When guys are making plays like that it makes my job a lot easier. ... I’m trying to keep the ball in the ballpark and let those guys make plays. My goal is to go out there and give us a chance to win and hopefully by keeping the ball down I’m able to do that."
Building a lead: Andy Burns had his eighth home run of the season, sending a solo shot over the left center field wall to give the Bisons a 1-0 lead in the first. In the fourth Erik Kratz drove in his first run with the Bisons with a bases-loaded single to left field. Casey Kotchman tried to score from second on the play, but a perfect throw from Lehigh Valley left fielder Cody Asche caught him at the plate.
Out of a jam: Lehigh Valley loaded the bases in the fifth with no outs with back-to-back singles and a walk issued by starter Casey Lawrence. But the Bisons turned a double play allowing just one run to score then Lawrence struck out Taylor Featherstone to end the inning with the Herd keeping a 2-1 lead.
No where to go: With the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth, Lehigh Valley reliever Patrick Schuster came to the game and promptly hit Casey Kotchman. That allowed Ryan Goins to score from third for a 3-1 lead. Goins led off the inning by drawing a walk.
Hit streak: Darrell Ceciliani's single in the fifth extended his hitting streak to 11 games. He is hitting .325 during the streak (14 for 43).
Multi-hit Montero: Jesus Montero had two singles for his 48th multi-hit performance. He has 150 hits on the season and is batting .321, keeping him in contention for the International League batting title.
Kotchman on base: Kotchman had three hits and was hit by a pitch to get on base in all four his at-bats.
One-run games: The Bisons improved to 19-20 in games decided by one run.
Counting the house: There were 8,165 at Coca-Cola Field Monday night.
Up next: The Bisons begin their final series at Coca-Cola Field Tuesday, opening a three-game set with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Rail Riders. Scott Copeland (3-2, 3.47) is scheduled to start Tuesday (7:05 p.m.) against Jordan Montgomery (4-1, 0.58). The probables for the rest of the series are Scott Diamond (9-13, 4.02) vs. Richard Bleier (2-3, 3.83) at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday and Jason Berken (0-1, 3.92) vs. Phil Coke (4-3, 3.09) at 6:05 p.m. Thursday.