It’s hard to divide a Most Valuable Pitcher award 14 ways, but if there was such an honor, it could go to the Buffalo Bisons’ bullpen, which has been stellar most of the season, with 33 saves and a 41-16 win-loss record among those on the active roster now.
The pen gave up a couple of solo home runs, but came through in the Herd’s 5-4 triumph over the Rochester Red Wings on Tuesday in the opener of a six-game series at Frontier Field.
Colon, 32, has had a solid year for the Herd, entering the weekend at .266-15-50.
A two-run homer by former Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco in the eighth inning off Diego Moreno gave Buffalo a 4-2 lead, but Rochester closed to within one when Victor Robles singled home a run in the bottom half.
The Bisons got the insurance run they needed when Forrest Wall singled – after hits by Richard Urena and Cullen Large – for the fifth Buffalo run in the top of the ninth. Closer Bryan Baker finished off the heart of the Rochester batting order, except for a one-out homer to left by Raudy Read, the designated hitter.
Jake Noll of the Wings homered with the bases empty in the sixth inning against Jacob Barnes to tie the game at 2-2. Bisons starter Zach Logue (7-3) went 5.2 innings with no decision. Dany Jiminez, the second Buffalo pitcher, picked up the win to go 3-3.
The Bisons are 29-6 in games Baker (4-1) has appeared in. Read’s homer snapped a eight-game scoreless streak Barnes had going over 7.2 innings. He received no save credit this time, but he has cashed 9 of 11 save opportunities this season. His earned-run average is still a stingy 1.49, despite the Read homer.
Buffalo’s modern era franchise winning streak of 12 ended with Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Syracuse, but the Herd is working on a road winning streak that has reached nine.
More importantly, Tuesday’s win dropped the Bisons’ magic number to claim the Northeast Division pennant to two with five games remaining in the regular season. The Bisons maintained a four-game lead over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after both teams won their games Tuesday.
Next: Right-hander Casey Lawrence (5-2, 4.86) is Buffalo’s scheduled starter for Wednesday’s 5:05 p.m. start against righty Steven Fuentes (0-2, 14.09).