Good pitching. Decent defense. Little offense.
It was more of the same for the Buffalo Bisons Tuesday night as they dropped a 3-1 decision to the Durham Bulls at Coca-Cola Field.
While the Bisons' pitching staff yielded 10 hits, the defense held the Bulls to just three runs.
The offense, however, stalled. Jon Berti had a leadoff single in the first and the Herd did not get a hit, or base runner, again until the sixth when Shane Opitz had a one-out double.
The Bisons got a base runner in the seventh when Rob Refsnyder drew a one-out walk, but he was stranded at second base after a ground out and pop foul.
The Herd finally broke through with a run in the eighth. Jake Elmore drew a one-out walk and scored from first on a double from Opitz.
The numbers: The Bisons have now lost 37 of their last 49 games with 21 of those losses decided by two or fewer runs. It was the 13th time in that span the Herd has scored just one run.
Finding a rhythm: It wasn't easy for the Bisons' hitters to find a groove on Tuesday as Durham used five different pitchers. It was Chih-Wei Hu who picked up the win, throwing three innings.
"There's a lot of good pitchers in that bullpen and it seemed like a new guy every inning. Couldn’t really get a rhythm off anyone," said Opitz who had two of Buffalo's hits, both doubles. "It's tough. Sometimes you have to give pitchers credit. They've got a lot of good arms and they did a good job tonight."
The Durham pitchers may have done a good job, but manager Bobby Meacham noted his hitters could do a better job.
"That's the key. It doesn't matter what they do. You don't let the pitcher dictate your approach," Meacham said. "Your approach is to hit a mistake out over the plate. As long as you do that, you're going to be OK. That's how you attack any pitcher. We learn from that, hopefully."
The early runs continue: Durham scored five runs in the first inning on Monday and the trend continued on Tuesday as the Bulls took a 2-0 lead. After back-to-back singles, Johnny Field had a one-out, two-run double. After a walk, the Herd turned a double play to end the inning and limit the damage.
Adding to the lead: The Bulls made it a 3-0 lead in the fifth when Willy Adames had an RBI single.
First outing: Righty Nick Tepesch made his Bisons debut, coming into the game in the fourth inning. he gave up one run on three hits through two innings, striking out three with no walks and one hit batter. The 28-year-old started the season with Rochester but then was out with a right elbow impingement. He made three appearances with the GCL Twins before he was traded by the Twins to the Blue Jays for cash.
Blister problems: Bisons starter Luis Santos came out of the game after three innings as he started to develop a blister. Santos, who made his 16th start, gave up two runs on three hits with two walks and two strike outs.
MLB Rehab: J.P. Howell came on in the eighth and pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings giving up one hit with a strikeout. He's been with the Herd on a Major League Rehabilitation assignment since July 6 with an shoulder injury.
Saunders sidelined: Michael Saunders told the Bisons broadcast that he tweaked a hip flexor on Sunday. He was 9 for 21 with five doubles in the prior five games. Saunders said he should be back in a day or two.
Roster moves: The Blue Jays recalled reliever Matt Dermody after placing Danny Barnes on the disabled list. Utility infielder Rob Refsnyder, acquired in a trade with the Yankees, was activated on Tuesday along with righthanded pitcher Nick Tepesch, acquired in a trade with Minnesota. Righty Andrew Case was transferred to Double-A New Hampshire.
Attendance: The official announced attendance was 5,981.
Up next: The teams continue the series at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday as lefty Brett Oberholtzer is the scheduled starter for the Herd. Durham is set to start lefty Ryan Yarbrough.