The Buffalo Bisons put some pressure on Syracuse pitchers and took advantage of some gifts in rallying for three runs in the eighth inning to win Tuesday’s game at Coca-Cola Field.
Buffalo’s Dwight Smith Jr. led off the inning with a bunt single down the first-base line.
Then Rowdy Tellez was hit by a pitch. Raffy Lopez followed with a sharp single to load the bases, and Jake Elmore hit a run-scoring single to left. Then came the Syracuse mistakes. Tellez scored when Chiefs pitcher Matt Grace made a bad throw home on a simple comebacker to the mound. The third run scored when reliever Neal Cotts threw a wild pitch.
“A couple big things stood out that inning,” said Bisons manager Bobby Meachem. “Smitty was left on left and decided to get up there and bunt, like he worked this past week on the field early. That started the whole thing. We got some breaks. Little things like that will keep us going the whole season.”
The 6-3 win was the 14th in 20 home games for Buffalo (20-16). Syracuse fell to 12-22.
Jays moves: The Blue Jays signed 11-year major-league veteran catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and assigned him to Buffalo. The move gives the Jays more insurance at the position with starting catcher Russell Martin still on the disabled list with a nerve problem in the shoulder. Martin was able to take some batting practice swings Tuesday. He’s able to come off the DL Thursday, but Toronto is not expected to rush him back.
The 32-year-old Saltalamacchia has played in 890 major-league games and for seven teams. He won a World Series ring with the Boston Red Sox in 2013, when he batted. 273 and ranked sixth in the American League in doubles. He has a career average of .233 with 110 home runs and 381 runs batted in. With Lopez on a hitting tear, Saltalamacchia may see action at designated hitter upon arrival in Buffalo.
Saltalamacchia spent last season with Detroit and struggled to a .171 average in 292 plate appearances. However, he had a respectable season for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2015, when he batted .251 with a .332 on-base percentage and .474 slugging percentage.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays recalled outfielder Darrell Ceciliani to Toronto and optioned pitcher Leonel Campos to Buffalo. Ceciliani was hitting .145 in 21 games for the Herd. Campos, 29, has played in 29 big-league games, most with San Diego. Campos spent most of last season as a reliever for Triple-A El Paso. The Blue Jays have nine players on the disabled list.
Pitchers of record: Matt Dermody (2-0) pitched an inning of relief and got the win. Murphy Smith got the save. Cesar Valdez started for Buffalo and allowed three runs in four innings. Grace (0-3) took the loss.
Chiefs woes: Syracuse ranks last in the International League in pitching, with an earned-run average of 5.78. The Chiefs have given up the most walks, an average of 7.2 a game. Syracuse starting pitchers entered Tuesday with a combined ERA of 7.17.
Counting the stands: Paid attendance was 4,561.
Up next: The two teams play at 6:05 p.m. Wednesday then conclude the series at 6:05 p.m. Thursday. Scheduled to start Wednesday for the Bisons is T.J. House (4-2, 2.38) vs. Joe Ross (0-2, 6.75).