The Thruway Cup series is now tied after Rochester scored in the top of the 10th and held on for a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Bisons at Coca-Cola Field Thursday afternoon.
Reliever John Stilson issued a four-pitch walk to the first batter he faced, loading the bases with one out. He went up on Bengie Gonzalez, 0-2, but ended up walking Gonzalez on a 3-2 pitch to bring the winning run around.
Red Wings reliever Alex Wimmers closed the door on the Herd in the bottom of the inning to pick up the win.
The Herd split its series with Rochester, 2-2, and ended their opening home stand at 5-2.
Impressive starting pitching: It was a battle on the mound as both starters put up impressive outings. Rochester's Jose Berrios had fantastic control. He did not throw three balls to any Bisons' batter and had a two-ball count only four times. He pitched eight innings, giving up one unearned run on four hits with six strikeouts.
Jarrett Grube posted the first quality start by a Bisons pitcher this season, giving up just one run in six innings. Grube gave up two hits with one walk, one balk and seven strikeouts. He threw 88 pitches, 57 for strikes and dropped his earned run averaged to 2.45.
Breaking onto the scoreboard: Matt Hague put Rochester up, 1-0, with a lead-off home run in the fourth inning. It was just the second hit off Grube. Hague was the International League MVP in 2015 when he played with the Bisons.
Tie game: The Bisons made it a 1-1 game in the fifth. Rowdy Tellez led off with a single. Juan Graterol followed that up with a single and Tellez took third when Rochester right fielder Daniel Palka misplayed the ball in the field. Tellez then scored on a sacrifice fly by Christian Lopes.
Bottom of the ninth: Dwight Smith, Jr. doubled to the gap in right center with two outs in the ninth and Rochester intentionally walked Tellez after Rochester reliever Alex Wimmers started the at-bat by throwing two balls. Graterol flew out to center to end the inning and send the game to extra innings.
About that 10th: Third-base umpire Nic Lentz actually saved the Bisons a run. Ben Paulsen had a one-out single and Leonardo Reginatto ripped a fair ball up the third-base line and hit the side of the leg of Lentz. That drove the ball toward the tarp instead of into left field, holding the runners at first and second.
Roster moves: Infielder Shane Opitz was transferred to extended spring training while infielder Ty Kelly was activated. Kelly was claimed by the Blue Jays from the New York Mets on Monday and optioned him to Buffalo. Kelly played 38 games with the Herd in 2015, driving in 12 runs while hitting .264.
WCC Race Report: The popular mascot race among Chicken Wing, Atomic Wing, Blue Cheese and Celery continues this season. Blue Cheese got its first win of the season. Wing has three and Atomic two. Celery, which announced its retirement after this year, is still winless.
Attendance: The announced paid attendance was 5,105.
Up next: The first road trip of the season for the Bisons begins Friday in Moosic, Pa., as they open a three-game series with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. The Herd is off on Monday and returns to Coca-Cola Field on Tuesday, April 18.
Reliving 1988: It will be a time-machine Friday as the Buffalo Bisons kick off their 30th anniversary season of the downtown ballpark with a rebroadcast of Opening Day 1988. It was the first game played at Coca-Cola Field (nee: Pilot Field). The original broadcast, featuring Pete Weber and John Murphy, will be on ESPN 1520 beginning at 2:30. (The first pitch was at 2:34). The Bisons will also take to social media, including live Tweets of the rebroadcast. Spoiler alert: The Bisons won that game, 1-0, over the Denver Zephyrs.