The Buffalo Bisons suddenly have become an offensive powerhouse.
The Herd pounded out 17 hits, including solo home runs by Billy McKinney and Socrates Brito, in a 10-5 triumph over the Syracuse Mets on Sunday before 3,594 at NBT Bank Stadium in Syracuse to head into the All-Star break on a three-game win streak.
In winning the final three of a four-game set against the Mets, the Bisons had 45 hits as they improved their record to 20-9 since June 5 when they were nine game under .500 and 9.5 games behind first-place Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the North Division of the International League.
Buffalo now stands 5 1/2 behind the RailRiders, just five games back in the loss column.
In the IL wild-card race, Buffalo (46-42) trails Gwinnett (51-38) and Charlotte (49-40).
So far in July, the Bisons are batting .331 as a team (81 for 245) in going 4-3. In the four games in Syracuse, the Herd batted .363 (57 for 157).
They had seven doubles on Sunday on top of the five they registered on Saturday night against the Mets. In all, they had 17 doubles in the Syracuse series.
Besides all the slugging, five Bisons pitchers combined for 18 strikeouts on Sunday, equalling the team’s modern-era record set against Syracuse in an 11-inning game on Aug. 24, 2005.
The Bisons led 3-1 in the bottom of the third after single runs in each of the first three frames. That included solo home runs by McKinney and Brito. Then the Mets surged into the lead on a three-run homer by Buffalo nemesis Rene Rivera off Bisons starter Sean Reid-Foley. Just last week, the veteran Syracuse catcher hit three homers in one game against the Herd at Sahlen Field.
Buffalo took the lead for good with four runs in the sixth against Syracuse reliever Brooks Ponders, who was able to retire only one of the five batters he faced and was charged with all four runs. He gave up doubles by Bo Bichette and Jordan Patterson, a walk and hit a batter. The Bisons expanded their lead to 10-5 in the seventh when Richard Urena doubled to score Bichette and Brito.
Bisons relievers Kirby Snead, Buddy Boshers and Ty Tice each pitched a shutout inning to close out the victory, each striking out two and allowing no hits to the usually potent Syracuse lineup.
Bichette (2 for 6) continued his hitting spree. Bichette is batting .320 as he extended his hit streak to eight games, during which he is hitting .447 (17 for 38).
Brito had two more doubles on top of his three in Saturday night’s victory and is now batting .306. The resurgent Patrick Kivlehan scored twice and is how hitting .311. Brito leads the Bisons with 40 RBIs. Patterson, who drove in two runs on Sunday, has 37 RBIs and Urena is up to 31.
McKinney followed his home run on Sunday with three straight singles in a 4-for-5 game that raised his batting average to .265.
Earlier on Sunday, the International League announced that Snead was added to the IL team for Wednesday’s Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday in El Paso, Texas.
The game will be broadcast live on the MLB Network and heard on Radio 1520. Right-handed pitcher Justin Shafer, who had been named to the IL team, was recalled by the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.
Snead, 24, joined the Bisons in early May to make his Triple-A debut. In 20 appearances, Snead is 2-1 with a 3.55 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 25.1 innings.
Snead was Toronto’s 10th-round pick in the 2016 draft. He went 3-4 with a 4.43 ERA in 36 games with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats in 2018, helping the team win an Eastern League championship.
After the three-game All-Star break, the Bisons will go back on the road for four games at Pawtucket starting on Thursday. The Herd returns for a seven-game home stand starting with the opener of four games against the Charlotte Knights on July 15 and ending with three games against Columbus.