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Nate Pearson dominates in debut but Bisons bullpen stumbles in loss to Red Wings

ROCHESTER – It was a mixed bag for the Buffalo Bisons here Tuesday night. The reports on the flashy newcomer were sensational. The result on the scoreboard was a crusher.

Nate Pearson, Toronto's top pitching prospect, fired seven shutout innings – and was still hitting 99 mph on the stadium radar gun in the seventh as he retired the final 11 men he faced. Pearson left with a 1-0 lead but the Buffalo bullpen imploded in a four-run eighth as the Rochester Red Wings stunned the Herd, 4-1, in Frontier Field.

The loss dropped Buffalo into third place in the International League North for the first time since June 19. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre leads the division by one game over Syracuse, which has won seven straight. The Bisons stayed two out and Rochester pulled within three. All teams have 13 games left.

The Red Wings rallied against Ty Tice and Kirby Snead, taking advantage of four walks and a go-ahead passed ball on Herd catcher Andres Sotillo with the bases loaded. Wilin Rosario's two-run single to center was the clinching blow.

The 6-foot-6-inch, 245-pound Pearson made his Triple-A debut on his 23rd birthday and posted the longest outing of his pro career. In his seven innings, he allowed just three singles and no walks, and struck out three. He never allowed a runner past first base and threw 55 of his 88 pitches for strikes.

"It felt normal. I've always been a guy that if you don't get me early, you're not going to get me later," Pearson said. "I just tried to continue getting my stuff better throughout each inning and that's what I did."

Pearson was regularly at 95-97 mph and also showcased a wicked changeup in the mid to high 80s to keep the Red Wings at bay. Combined with T.J. Zeuch's no-hitter here on Monday, the Bisons got 16 straight scoreless innings with only three hits allowed from Toronto's No. 1 picks in the 2016 and 2017 drafts.

"That was unreal to witness. That was greatness right there," Pearson said of Zeuch's game. "Being able to see Zeuch go out and do that, I knew I wasn't going to be able to follow that up but I tried my best and gave my all.

The Bisons' only run Tuesday came on Patrick Kivlehan's solo homer to left in the second, his 26th of the season. Zuech will start again for the Bisons Saturday night in Sahlen Field against Pawtucket. Pearson is scheduled to start Sunday afternoon.

Anthony Kay (1-4) will start for the Bisons here at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

With power sinker and powerful defense, T.J. Zeuch made Herd history on the mound

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