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Bisons race past Red Wings

By: Mike Rose

The Buffalo Bisons used a quick start to jump in front and never look back in an 8-3 win over the Rochester Red Wings. The quick start came after an hour-and-a-half rain delay pushed the game start back. This didn't seem to affect Buffalo however as they hung seven runs on Red Wings starter Cory Abbott in the first two innings.

The trouble for Abbott began right out of the gates as he walked the first batter of the game, Rafael Lantigua. That would prove to be a trend for Abbott's brief outing. Ernie Clement would follow with a sacrifice bunt before Spencer Horwitz and Davis Schneider each worked walks to load the bases. Rob Brantly would deliver with a sacrifice fly to drive in the opening run. Horwitz would come in to score on a wild pitch and make it an early 2-0 lead for the Bisons after one.

The second inning brought more of the same for Buffalo. Tanner Morris and Cameron Eden led off the inning with back-to-back singles. After they both advanced on another wild pitch, Lantigua drove in Morris with a sacrifice fly. Clement would work a walk and Horwitz would drive in Eden with an RBI single to make it 4-0. Davis Schneider put the exclamation mark on the Bisons' hot start with a three-run shot to left field to make it 7-0 Buffalo.

"It was a 2-1 count and he (Abbott) was throwing a lot of off-speed early in the day to me and the rest of the guys so I was going to sit off-speed but I just saw that fastball up, out and over the plate and I knew right away it was gone," Schneider said.

That would conclude Abbott's day as he exited after just 1.1 innings allowing seven runs on four hits and five walks. It was his shortest outing of the season and his most walks in a game since an April 16 start against Buffalo when he walked four. Schnieder believes his team's patience and discipline have given Abbott issues in the two matchups.

"I think that we just don't quit. Each at-bat everyone down the lineup, teams have a hard time striking us out. So I think that knowing that going in he tried to be a little too perfect and just missed the plate a little bit. We're a good team, we get on base and just scratch and claw away," Schnieder said.

The Red Wings bullpen did well to settle things down following Abbott. Luis Reyes was the first man out and he pitched 2.2 innings and allowed just one base runner. Matt Cronin would follow him and give up a double to Brantley before being called for a balk on a play he appeared to roll his ankle, He exited from there and Lopez would bring in the run on the third sac fly of the game by Buffalo to make it 8-0. Tommy Romero would come on next and escape without any further damage across three innings of work allowing just two hits.

On the other side, Zach Thompson put together one of his best starts of the season. Thompson pitched five shutout innings allowing three hits and walking two with one strikeout, picking up his first win of the season. Thompson, who entered the game with a 7.79 earned run average (ERA) on the season, has been trying to work on consistency in his delivery.

"We've been working on some pitch selection stuff and how my line is down the mound and realizing how inconsistent I've actually been. It's just something that we're going to continue to tweak on until I can do this every single time," Thompson said.

In the seventh, the Red Wings bats woke up for the first time. Francisco Arcia worked a leadoff walk against Bisons' reliever Yosver Zuleta. After a quick out, Darren Baker walked to set up Derek Hill with two runners on and one out. He came up with the hit the Red Wings needed, lining an RBI single to center field to score Arcia. Baker came in to score on the play as well due to a bobble by Lopez as he tried to field it. One batter later, Matt Adams came up with an RBI single to score Hill and make it 8-3. The rally would end there however for Rochester. Despite threatening in the eighth, Rochester could not push across another run.

With the win, Buffalo moves to 21-23 on the season while Rochester falls to 17-25 with the loss. The two teams will square off in the final game of the series tomorrow, May 21, at Sahlen Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 pm.

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