Even a gift of four runs without the benefit of a hit in the ninth inning could not help the Buffalo Bisons on Sunday at PNC Park in Moosic, Pa.
The Herd fell to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, 15-12, in a wild game that featured 26 hits, 12 bases on balls, two wild pitches that allowed runs to score and two hit batsmen.
The win on the next-to-last day of the International League regular season clinched at least a tie for first place in the North Division for the RailRiders, who would take the pennant outright with a win or a Syracuse Mets loss on Monday.
Nine pitchers appeared in the Bisons’ game and only one was not touched for a run. That was veteran David Hernandez of the RailRiders, and he walked two of the four batters he faced, both with the bases loaded.
The mound work was so shoddy even New York Yankees ace Luis Severino, who started the game on a rehab assignment, was touched for a run and two hits in his one inning.
Edwin Encarnacion of the Yankees, also playing on a rehab, was 1 for 4 with a run scored. He was hit by a pitch with the bases full in the second inning, giving him credit for am RBI.
Each side hit two home runs.
Andy Burns and Forrest Wall each homered with the bases empty for Buffalo. Mandy Alvarez hit one with two on in Scranton’s six-run second inning, in which they took the lead for good.
Gosuke Katoh, who hit a grand slam against Buffalo on Saturday, cracked a two-run shot in the eighth to give the RailRiders a seemingly commanding 15-8 lead.
However, the Bisons scored four times in the ninth and had the tying run in the batters box with the help of five walks and a hit batter.
Buffalo’s season will end against the RailRiders on Monday (Radio 1520, 12:05 p.m.) with Sean Reid-Foley (3-5, 6.56) scheduled to start for the Herd. The Bisons (70-69) need a win to finish over the .500 for the first time since 2014 (77-66).