A promising start from the Bisons’ TJ Zeuch soured in the bottom of the eighth inning, when Toledo scored five runs to erase Buffalo’s lead and claim a 5-1 victory Thursday night at Fifth Third Field in Toledo, Ohio.
Zeuch (3-2, 4.92) had maintained a two-hit shutout into the bottom of the eighth inning, when the Mud Hens opened with four straight hits and tied the game at one.
The righty got one out and was relieved by Tayler Saucedo, who struck out the first batter he saw on three pitches.
Disaster struck on the next at-bat when Ronny Rodriguez clobbered a 1-0 pitch into the party deck at Toledo’s stadium for a grand slam and a 5-1 Mud Hens lead.
Buffalo went out on the next three batters to fall to 59-57. The Herd remains in second place in the International League North Division, five games behind Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and in third place in the Wild Card standings behind Durham and Charlotte.
Anthony Alford, who homered in his return to the lineup Wednesday night, finished 2-for-4 with two strikeouts. Rowdy Tellez went 3-for-3 with two doubles and a walk and scored the Bisons’ only run of the night.
That score came in the top of the sixth, when Tellez doubled to left field and scored on a double from Patrick Kivlehan.
Buffalo’s best chance to do damage came early in the game in the second inning, when three straight batters drew walks off Toledo starter Spenser Watkins.
Watkins took a moment to reload and struck out the next two Bisons batters, Andy Burns and Patrick Cantwell, on six straight pitches. Santiago Espinal grounded out to end the inning.
Buffalo opens a three-game series at West Division-leading Columbus today at 7:15 p.m.