Socrates Brito has been a dependable clutch hitter for the Buffalo Bisons most of the season. Santiago Espinal has emerged only lately.
Both hit home runs Tuesday night to lead the Herd to a 5-3 victory over the Rochester Red Wings at Sahlen Field and keep the team hanging on for a chance at the International League playoffs.
Left-hander Anthony Kay (3-4) extended his shutout pitching string to 12.2 innings before he left with two out in the seventh.
With the win, Buffalo (69-65) picked up a game on the Syracuse Mets (71-63), who lost at home to Lehigh Valley, 5-3. However, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s 4-0 win at Pawtucket kept the first-place RailRiders (72-62) three games in front of the Bisons, whose elimination number is now four.
Brito led off the fourth inning with his 15th homer off a 1-2 pitch from Rochester starter Kohl Stewart. It was Buffalo’s first hit. The Herd added another run in the inning when Stewart wild-pitched with the bases full.
Espinal, who went hitless in his first four games after joining the Bisons and is batting .343 since (23 for 67), homered with two on to make it 5-0 in the sixth.
Rochester scored three times in the ninth. Reliever Justin Shafer got into trouble right away by walking the leadoff batter. Two Bisons errors, an RBI single by Tomas Telis and Zander Weil’s 22nd homer of the season spoiled the shutout.
Right-hander Sean Reid-Foley (3-4, 6.26) is slated to start for the Bisons against Randy Dobnak (5-2, 2.15) on Wednesday night (Radio 1520, 7:05 p.m.) before Buffalo closes the home schedule on Thursday.