The Buffalo Bisons relinquished a 3-1 lead Sunday in Rochester, dropping the rubber match of a three-game set against the Red Wings, 4-3. The hosts scored one run in the sixth and a pair in the seventh, and Buffalo couldn't push a run across the plate in its last meeting of the year with its thruway rival.
The Bisons (61-73) have already secured themselves at least a fourth-place finish in the International League North, 10 games ahead of last-place Syracuse with eight games remaining. Buffalo will host four against third-place Pawtucket (two games ahead of Buffalo) before visiting the Chiefs for the final four games of the season.
Turning point: Bisons starter Chris Rowley allowed a single to center field off the bat of Daniel Palka in the bottom of the seventh, and Rowley's ensuing throwing error on the play scored Engelb Vielma from first. Palka came all the way around to score on the play as well, and Rochester took a 4-3 lead that held until game's end.
Shane shakes slump: Bisons shortstop Shane Opitz had only hit in three of his last 10 games entering Sunday, but he drove in two of Buffalo's three runs with a solo shot to right in the second and an RBI single to right in the fourth. Opitz hadn't driven in a run in his last 12 games entering Sunday's rubber match, but his bat gave the Bisons an early lead.
Rowdy rebounds: After a scorching hot start to August in which he recorded hits in the Bisons first 12 games of the month, Rowdy Tellez inevitably cooled off. He had only hit in two of his last seven games entering Sunday, but Tellez smacked an RBI double to center in the top of the first inning and later scored on Opitz's RBI single in the fourth. Tellez logged two of Buffalo's five hits on the afternoon.
On the mound: Rowley threw a solid first five innings before allowing three runs combined in the fifth and sixth. In seven frames on the afternoon, he allowed eight hits and only walked one while striking out three. Only two of the four runs he surrendered were earned, but it was his throwing error that allowed them to score. Rowley's earned run average is still only 2.79 on the season despite his 3-5 record. Mike Bolsinger threw a hitless eighth in relief while walking one and striking out one.
Fields watch: Roemon Fields' 39 stolen bases has him three shy of breaking Tony Womack's team record of 41. Fields needs one steal every 24 innings the rest of the season to accomplish that.
Up next: Buffalo returns home for its final series at Coca-Cola Field this season. Murphy Smith (4-4, 3.66 ERA) is on the mound for the Bisons and Kyle Kendrick (3-7, 6.42) throws for Pawtucket.