The Buffalo Bisons needed an offensive breakout.
They got it in the first inning Monday night at Coca-Cola Field in front of one of the biggest crowds of the year.
The Herd scored six runs in the first inning to defeat the Syracuse Chiefs, 6-2, at the team's 23rd annual Independence Eve celebration.
With the win, the Bisons went 2-7 on their homestand. The six runs marks the most scored in a game this homestand and was the most since the Herd beat the Chiefs, 7-5, in Syracuse, on June 25.
It was an impressive first inning for the Bisons offense. The Herd scored six runs off six hits, sending 11 batters to the plate and chasing starter Erick Fedde after he faced seven batters without getting an out.
Dwight Smith Jr. started it off with a lead-off single and used his speed to score from first when Jon Berti doubled down the right field line.
Rowdy Tellez got in the act, working a 12-pitch at-bat before belting a two-run double.
And the hits kept on coming the first inning. Raffy Lopez and Gregorio Petit had back-to-back RBI singles with Roemon Fields adding an RBI single at the No. 9 spot.
"Even bigger than that I thought was our base running," Bisons manager Bobby Meacham said. "Dwight scored from first on a double. ... That's kind of what we saw early in the season -- guys just going for it and taking advantage of what's in front of us."
The run scored by Smith Jr. set the tone for the Bisons offense, both hitting and base running.
"I saw the ball kind of hung up and I said let's go for it," Meacham said. "It was one of those things where I think it helped to get a run in right away instead of having (runners on) second and third and trying to get them in. I think that was a big start for us."
Syracuse on the board: The Chiefs responded in the second as Neftali Soto led off with a double and ended up scoring on a sacrifice to center from Jhonatan Solano.
Bases loaded: Reliever John Stilson ran into trouble in the seventh giving up two walks and a hit to load the bases with one out. Matt Dermody came in the game and got a ground out, which scored one run, then got another ground out to end the inning and the scoring threat.
Good start: Chris Rowley made his first Triple-A start going five innings for the Herd. Rowley, whose first three appearances with the Bisons came out of the bullpen, got the spot start when scheduled starter Mike Bolsinger was called up the Blue Jays. Rowley gave up one run on three hits with two walks and six strike outs.
Roster moves: The Bisons activated Ian Parmley after the outfielder was designated for assignment on Saturday. Bolsinger was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays for the second time this season. Relief pitcher Tim Mayza joined the Herd from Double-A New Hampshire where he had a 4.59 ERA, a 1-1 record and six saves in 29 appearances.
Attendance: The announced paid attendance was 16,647, short of a sellout.
Up next: The Bisons start a six-game road trip Tuesday opening a three-game series with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in Moosic, Pa. The team then plays three games in Pawtucket before the Triple-A All-Star Break. The Bisons return to Buffalo July 13.