After taking two of three from division-leading Scranton/Wilkes Barre this week, the Bisons (48-64) returned home and banged out eight runs on nine hits in a dominant 4 1/2-inning, rain-shortened 8-2 win over second-place Lehigh Valley (67-45). Second baseman Jon Berti turned a slick double play to end the top of the fifth during a torrential downpour to make the game official just in time. Home-plate umpire John Bacon stopped the game seconds later and it never resumed.
Buffalo scored seven runs in the first three innings en route to the seamless victory over the Philadelphia Phillies Triple-A affiliate at Coca-Cola Field on Friday night, extending its winning streak to three games.
Bouncing back: After Lucas Harrell's last start on July 30, Bisons manager Bobby Meacham said the righty hurler was "out of whack" and that his deliveries were inconsistent. Harrell only allowed one run in three innings in a 7-2 Buffalo victory, but he left much to be desired. On Friday, Harrell again allowed one run, but over four innings he struck out five and had much better command of his fastball. Since the game ended early, reliever Wil Browning got the win because he was the last pitcher despite only throwing one inning. Harrell still hasn't picked up a win on the year.
Dwight shines bright: Dwight Smith Jr. batted three times in four innings and singled each time. He scored twice and drove in a run, raising his average to .291 on the year. Smith has now hit in 10 of his last 13 contests, going 18-54 (.333) with six doubles, two homers, nine RBIs and nine runs scored over that stretch.
Flying Fields: Roemon Fields swiped his 33rd bag of the season in the fourth inning. On Thursday, he became the ninth Bison in the team's modern era to steal 30 or more bases in a season and the first since 2000, when Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts stole 39. The Bisons lead the league with 112 stolen bases, and Fields has 30 games left to steal seven to surpass Roberts.
Berti saves the day: With the bases loaded, one out on the board and rain pelting the field in the top of the fifth, Buffalo still needed two outs in order for the game to be official. Brock Stassi grounded to second, where Berti tagged Cameron Perkins running from first to second, before firing to first for the double play. The Bisons snuck into the rain delay already having an official win if the game didn't resume.
First impressions: Catcher Danny Jansen started behind the plate after Raffy Lopez got called up to the Blue Jays, and the Bisons newcomer went 1-for-2 with a two-RBI double and a run scored. Before Friday, Jansen hit .369 in 33 games for Class-A Advanced Dunedin and .291 with 17 extra-base hits and 20 RBIs for Double-A New Hampshire over 52 games.
Up next: The two teams return to Coca-Cola Field for a 7:05 first pitch Saturday night, with Luis Santos (1-6, 4.11 ERA) throwing for Buffalo and Ben Lively (5-1, 2.31) pitching for Lehigh Valley.