Gosuke Katoh took care of any plans the Buffalo Bisons had of acting the role of spoiler Saturday night against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at PNC Park in Moosic, Pa.
The 24-year-old shortstop from Poway, Calif., hit a grand slam off Thomas Pannone in the fifth inning to snap a 4-4 tie and send the RailRiders on to a 9-4 victory over the Bisons.
The victory and the Syracuse Mets’ 5-3 loss at Rochester left the RailRiders (74-65) alone in first place in the North Division of the International League with two games left for each. Syracuse fell to 73-65.
After Katoh’s blast, the Bisons surrendered meekly. They had only one hit, a single by Andy Burns in the sixth inning the rest of the way. The Scranton bullpen retired the last 10 Buffalo batters in a row to nail down the important victory.
Bisons nemesis Ryan McBroom hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the first to put the RailRiders in front against Bisons starter Clayton Richard, down from Toronto for a rehab start.
Wendell Rijo doubled home Katoh to make it 3-0 in the second.
Buffalo tied it with a three-run third, highlighted by a two-run triple by Socrates Brito, who scored on a single by Richard Urena.
Roemon Fields tripled in the fifth and scored on a single by Jonathan Davis to give the Herd a short-lived 4-3 lead. Pannone walked the first two batters in the fifth. After Breyvic Valera bunted safely to fill the bases, the RailRiders tied it on a sacrifice fly. Then Pannone hit Trey Amburgey with a pitch to load the bases again before Katoh cleared them.