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Roemon Fields back to his old tricks, getting big hits and stealing bases for the Bisons

The ball had not left the pitcher's hand and Roemon Fields was already off and running. The pitch was outside and in the dirt, allowing Fields to take second base standing up.

Just another day on the diamond for Fields.

It was his fifth stolen base of the season and the 50th in 126 career games with the Buffalo Bisons, making him just the eighth player to steal 50 bases for the club in the modern era.

Speed is his game. So too is being aggressive. Oh and by the way, he can throw guys out from center field.

His play has helped the Herd to a four-game winning streak, capped by a 6-1 win over the Syracuse Chiefs on Sunday in Coca-Cola Field.

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Fields was a key part of a five-run second inning for the Bisons. Darnell Sweeney's two-run RBI opened the scoring, then Fields singled to center to drive in two more. After stealing second Fields scored on a single from Dwight Smith Jr.

His approach in the at-bat was simple: "Just get something that I could drive up the middle. Don't try to do too much," Fields said. "Early in the season I was trying to do too much. I was just trying to keep it simple."

The simplicity seems  to be working for him. He's on a six-game hitting streak with four RBIs in the last two games.

Then there was the stolen base.

Syracuse starter Austin Voth "was pretty quick to the plate and he was holding me pretty long so I knew he wasn't going to come over," Fields said. "It was just a matter of time before he threw the pitch and I kinda timed him up pretty well."

On the bases, Fields is fast and accurate. Last year, he led the International League with 43 steals. And while other teams are getting wise to his base running, it just means Fields has to be a little sharper in his decisions.

"When I get on, well I try to get on, and it's just normal," Fields said about stealing bases.  Opponents are "making it a little more challenging this year, you know going a little quicker, paying more attention. But I've got to take advantage of some things I see as well."

He sees pretty well in the outfield, too. There were no spectacular plays in center for Fields on Sunday, but on Friday night he gunned a runner down at the plate from his position in the middle of the outfield. As aggressive as Fields can be on the bases, he's as aggressive in making sure the opposition pays for trying to take an extra base.

"He takes runs away and he makes things happen on offense, on the bases," manager Bobby Meacham said. "He did it last year and he's doing it again this year. He's driving in runs. He drives in big runs and it's been great to see him go out there the last few games and play like he can."

Overall, Meacham is pleased with the way the Bisons played in their sweep of the four-game series against Syracuse. Things got dicey, again, for the Herd in the late innings with reliever Sam Moll issuing a bases-loaded walk in the eighth to give the Chiefs a run. But Carlos Ramirez came in and struck out two to end the threat.

Sweeney then had a two-out double to score Danny Jansen to give the Bisons back their five-run cushion.

It's better baseball from the Bisons after they went 1-2 in their last homestand, a brief three-game series against Pawtucket. And while there's still work to be done, especially in locking down leads late in the game, Meacham is seeing the club turn the corner.

"I wasn't happy," Meacham said of the last time the Herd was at home. "I feel like we're better than we showed. That was my frustration. I thought gosh we've got to finish things off, we can't just go out there and play and say hey we're good. We've got to go out there and finish things off. So this home stand so far, it's one of those things where I'm happy to see guys really digging in and finishing things off."

Now back over .500 at 11-10, the Bisons moved from four games out of first place in the International League North to just a half-game back of Pawtucket. The Herd remains at Coca-Cola Field through Wednesday, welcoming the Rochester Red Wings. They begin their three-game series at 6:05 p.m. on Monday.

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