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McKinney homers in third game in a row as Herd wins

                                                                                                                                                                                                                First it was Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Now it’s Billy McKinney on a home run tear.

The Buffalo Bison outfielder homered for the third game in a row Wednesday night in 4-2 victory over the Charlotte Knights before 10,211 at BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte, N.C.

Guerrero Jr. hit home runs in four games in a row last week at Coca-Cola Field against the Gwinnett Stripers and Toledo Mud Hens before his streak ended on Sunday, one game short of tying the International League record held by several others.

McKinney led off a three-run second inning for the Bisons with  his 16th home run of the season, but only the third since joining the Herd in a trade from the New York Yankees.

Buffalo swept the three-game series from the Knights and extended its winning streak to four in a row, its longest since a run of six wins in May. The Bisons won the season series with Charlotte, 4-2. The sweep gave them an 11-6 record all-time at BB&T Ballpark.

Points of interest: Hallelujah. It was the first game the Bisons won when Matt Tracy (1-1) was the starting pitcher. That’s through no fault of Tracy. In eight starts for the Herd, Tracy has a 1.90 earned-run average. Four times before Wednesday Tracy left a game with the Bisons leading only to end up with no decision in a Buffalo loss. ... Danny Barnes, optioned from Toronto earlier in the week, pitched two innings in relief of Tracy. The Princeton grad was responsible for both Charlotte runs. … Ryan Shafer pitched the ninth for his 15th save.

Noteworthy: Seven of the last eight home runs the Bisons have hit, including the three by McKinney, have come with the bases empty. … Guerrero Jr. was hitless in five at-bats. Three Bisons – Jonathan Davis, Dwight Smith Jr. and Rowdy Tellez – had two hits in the game. Smith doubled and scored on a single by Tellez in the first. He was part of a Buffalo cycle in the second. After McKinney’s home run, Michael DeLaCruz tripled, scored on a double by Davis. Smith then singled home the third run of the inning. … Tellez, who also leads the Bisons with 13 home runs, has a team-leading 98 hits. Wednesday’s game was his 29th multi-hit game of the season. Batting well over .300 in August, Tellez has raised his average to .277.

Next: The Bisons move on to Lawrenceville, Ga. to face the Gwinnett Stripers at CoolRay Stadium in the opener of a four-game series (Radio 1520, 7:05 p.m.). Buffalo has not named a starter to face lefty Luiz Gohara (2-4, 5.56). The Herd can expect a hot night in Lawrenceville where it was 87 degrees for the Stripers’ 4-3 win over Louisville on Wednesday.

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