By: Mike Rose
BUFFALO, N.Y.– It was a sloppy game for both teams at times but ultimately the Buffalo Bisons pulled away late and defeated the Rochester Red Wings 14-8. As has been the case on most occasions this season when these teams have matched up, Friday's game was certainly not typical. The two offenses combined for 22 runs on 23 hits well also working 21 walks on the night.
"We were very patient. A lot of the pitchers we faced today were heavy mix guys and the patience pays off when you're facing guys who are going to throw multiple pitches for strikes," Bisons left fielder Tanner Morris said.
For Rochester, it was another night where the pitching staff was the anchor holding the team back. Wily Peralta got the start but was only able to manage 3.2 innings as he allowed seven runs on seven hits with six walks. The bullpen effort left much to be desired as well as Luis Reyes, Joe La Sorsa, and Hobie Harris combined for 3.1 innings of relief allowing seven runs on seven hits with a pair of walks.
"Through my experience, the worst thing you can do is constantly talk about throwing the ball over the plate because then it starts to get in your mind," Red Wings Manager Matthew LeCroy said. "We're moving the catcher more on the plate and we're not working the edges as much as we'd like to but we just haven't gotten it done here of late. If you don't pitch you have a hard time staying in games."
Eventually, LeCroy was forced to turn to Paul Witt to save his bullpen an inning of work late in a ballgame that had gotten away from his team.
Buffalo raced out to an early 7-1 lead after four innings with five different players recording an RBI. In the top of the fifth, however, the Rochester offense came alive. A home run by Luis Garcia was followed by a string of walks and miscues from the Bisons' pitching and defense. When the top half of the fifth came to a close it was a brand new game with Buffalo leading 7-5. The Bisons' response to the four-run fifth by Rochester was to simply keep scoring.
Buffalo tacked on two runs in the bottom half of the fifth before blowing the game open for good with a five-run sixth inning. Bisons Manager Casey Candaele believes his team's response from the rough top of the fifth was critical to the ultimate end result Friday.
"That was the difference in the game. If we don't come back and score in that inning then they have the momentum going into the next inning and who knows what happens. Baseball is based a lot on momentum and momentum shifts in a game. Coming back and scoring in that inning after giving up four was huge, it was a really big inning for us," Candaele said.
Although Rochester would add a run in the seventh and two in the ninth the damage had been done as the Bisons cruised to the finish line. When all was said and done, every Buffalo hitter ended the night with at least one hit.
With the victory Buffalo (22-19, 56-60) takes a two games to one edge in the series. Heading into the weekend the Bisons will be forced into two consecutive bullpen days due to a lack of starting pitching currently with the team.
"Our plan is to throw all the guys we have in our bullpen," Candaele said.
Meanwhile, for Rochester (20-22, 54-61), Jackson Rutledge (2-1, 4.79) is slated to get the start on the mound in the penultimate game of the series. The first pitch from Sahlen Field Saturday is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.