After spending a month in the big leagues, Mike Bolsinger returned to Buffalo more eager than ever to pitch.
"I think I figured it out," he told Bisons manager Bobby Meacham.
He certainly figured something out Wednesday night as he pitched eight scoreless innings to lead the Herd to a 3-0 win over the Rochester Red Wings at Coca-Cola Field.
Bolsinger made five starts for the Toronto Blue Jays during his month-long call-up from May 9 to June 1. He went 0-2 with a 5.61 ERA, but when he came back to Buffalo he was revved up and ready to go.
"When he first got back, he couldn't wait to pitch. He couldn't wait to get out there," Meacham said. "The first time he was here, he was kinda here. And now, he just can't wait to pitch. I've never seen that before. He's like 'I've got something figured out. I want to go out there and do it.' And he did figure it out today."
Bolsinger was dealing in the win, giving up four hits with seven strikeouts and no walks.
"I think I was locating the fastball early in the game and then later in the game establishing my off-speed pitches for strikes and throwing in the dirt in 0-2 counts when I needed to get a strikeout or a ground ball," Bolsinger said.
Meanwhile, what exactly does the 29-year-old feel he figured out?
"I started messing with my mechanics a little bit. Learning a little bit of a new pitch, a two-seam fastball. It's been helping a lot," Bolsinger said. "It's helped my" velocity "go up a little bit and it's helped me keep the ball down and not have as many walks. I had a lot of walks up there."
Bolsinger issued 19 walks in 25 2/3 innings in Toronto. In 18 1/3 innings since being back with the Bisons, he's issued just one.
Finally a win: The win snapped a three-game losing streak to Rochester and was just the second win in the last 15 games for the Herd.
Sparkman rehab: Glenn Sparkman pitched the ninth for the Bisons as he continued his Major League rehabilitation assignment for a broken thumb. He gave up two singles to start the inning but then got a double play from the Buffalo defense and got J.B. Shuck to ground out to short to preserve the shutout and the win.
Scoring runs: The Bisons broke a scoreless tie in the fifth. Raffy Lopez led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Gregorio Petit. Then Shane Opitz doubled to left field. Lopez held at third as the throw came into second base, but the ball rolled away, giving Lopez time to hustle home.
Opitz then scored on a single to center from Jon Berti to take a 2-0 lead.
Another run: Lopez scored another run for the Herd in the seventh, tagging up at third on a sacrifice to left field from Roemon Fields.
Dillon Gee outing: Rochester starter and former Buffalo Bison Dillon Gee pitched three shutout innings with one hit, one walk and one strikeout. He last pitched on June 14 for the Texas Rangers at Houston, giving up two runs on four hits over three relief innings. Gee elected free agency on June 18, was signed by Minnesota and sent to Rochester on June 22.
Tellez hit streak: Rowdy Tellez had a two-out single to center in the fifth inning to extend his hitting streak to six games.
Doubly nice: The Bisons turned two inning-ending double plays. In the second it was a 6-4-3 turn to keep the game scoreless while in the seventh, with one out and runners on first and second, they went around the horn, 5-4-3, to hold on to their 2-0 lead.
Roster moves: The Bisons got Dwight Smith Jr. back in the lineup. He was optioned back to Buffalo and activated after being called up on June 14. He hit .391 in 23 at-bats over nine games. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays signed outfielder Michael Saunders to a minor league deal and assigned him to Buffalo. Saunders was a 2016 All-Star with the Blue Jays, establishing career highs in games (140), doubles (32) home runs (24) and walks (59). He played 61 games for the Philadelphia Phillies this season, hitting .205.
Attendance: The announced paid attendance was 6,524 at Coca-Cola Field.
Up next: The series concludes at 1:05 p.m. Thursday with lefty Brett Oberholtzer scheduled to start for the Bisons against Rochester righty Chris Heston.