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Alford homers, scores winner for Bisons

Anthony Alford, who had been hitless in his previous 12 at-bats, broke out of it Saturday night to lead the Buffalo Bisons to a 4-2 victory over the Syracuse Chiefs at Coca-Cola Field.

The Bisons outfielder led off the fourth inning with his fourth home run of the season to tie the game at 2-2, then singled to start the Herd’s winning rally in the bottom of the eighth.

Alford led off the eighth with a single and came around to score the winning run on Jason Leblebijian’s double to left. A wild pitch and Darnell Sweeney’s single produced the second run of the inning.

Points of interest: Left-hander Thomas Pannone made his Triple-A debut as the Bisons starter and struck out six in six innings, allowing seven hits and two runs. The runs came on a homer by Adrián Sanchez in the third inning after a two-out double by Andrew Stevenson. Another newcomer, Brandon Cumpton, earned his first save for the Bisons in his second appearance with the team since he was acquired by Toronto from Pittsburgh. Cumpton, who has a 5-5 big league record, missed all of the 2015 and 2016 seasons after Tommy John surgery.

Noteworthy: The Bisons are 9-4 against Syracuse this season. Of the Herd’s 40 victories, 25 have come against North Division rivals Chiefs, Rochester (8-5) and Pawtucket (8-8). Against the rest of the International League, Buffalo is just 15-24. … Pannone became the 59th player to appear in a game for the Herd this season. He became the 12th pitcher to make his debut with the Bisons this season. … Saturday’s announced attendance of 8,912 brought the Herd’s season total to 280,606 for 39 openings, an average of 7,195. … The Bisons are 3-4 for July after a 12-17 June with a 6-7 home record. It included a 3-8 mark to close the month. … Alford was one of four Bisons with two hits in Saturday’s victory. The others were Roemon Fields, Gio Urshela and Sweeney. … Fields stole his 16th base of the season in the seventh, but after he moved to third on a sacrifice was left stranded.

Next: In the Bisons final game before the IL All-Star break, they will send Chris Rowley (5-5, 3.48)to the mound against lefty Tommy Milone (4-4, 4.71) today (Radio 1520, 1:05 p.m.). After the three-day break, the Bisons will open a four-game series against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in Allentown, Pa. on Thursday night. Buffalo’s next home game will be July 16 against the Norfolk Tides.

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