Trayce Thompson’s grand slam put the finishing touch on a six-run Columbus rally in the fourth inning in the Clippers’ 6-3 triumph over the Buffalo Bisons on Sunday at Sahlen Field.
The blast off Bisons right-hander Sean Reid-Foley was the 24th of the season for the right-hand batting Thompson, a former Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder.
Thompson is one of 13 International League batters who already have hit more than 20 homers this season. Last season, only five IL batters hit 20 or more the entire season, an indication of how the home-run ball is affecting organized baseball this season.
Whatever momentum the Bisons were developing in their second-half drive toward playoff contention stalled on the home stand that ended Sunday. After going 3-4 against Charlotte and Columbus, the Bisons finished where they started, five games behind first-place Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the IL’s North Division.
All of the Bisons runs came in the sixth inning when Richard Urena homered after a leadoff walk to Patrick Kivlehan. Bo Bichette’s two-out triple drove in the other Buffalo run.
That was all the scoring the Bisons could produce despite numerous opportunities.
Buffalo had six hits and received six bases on ball, but produced little in the way of clutch hitting against six Columbus pitchers. The Bisons left a runner on base, 13 in all, in every inning but the ninth. Buffalo batters struck out 10 times, four times for the final out in an inning with a runner on.
Urena had three of Buffalo’s eight hits in four at-bats, raising his average to .265. His fourth homer raised his RBI total to 36 for the season.
Six of the Clippers’ nine hits came in their big inning. Otherwise, Columbus batters were only 3 for 26 overall. Four Bisons pitchers registered 12 strikeouts.
The Bisons will be off Monday, a travel day, as they head for a six-game road trip, starting on Tuesday in Charlotte and continuing to Durham on Friday.
Buffalo is now 27-25 (.519) at home this season and 25-23 (.521) on the road.