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De Los Santos walks off Worcester

By: Mike Rose

BUFFALO, N.Y.– The Buffalo Bisons had labored through the two games and eight innings of the second half of the AAA season before some magic happened Friday night. Ultimately, the Bisons emerged as walk-off winners over the Worcester Red Sox 10-8. Luis De Los Santos provided the final fireworks with a pinch-hit walk-off grand slam to win in the bottom of the tenth.

"That's as exciting as it gets," Bisons' manager Casey Candaele said. "It's pretty cool and great for DeLo man. He's always been a great teammate and a guy that deserves good things to happen and a really good player too."

The game-winner was the first pinch-hit walk-off grand slam since 1979. It was also the sixth walk-off victory of the season for the Bisons.

"Obviously we didn't finish how we wanted in the first half but we had quite a few games where we battled in the late innings and came back from deficits and were in a position to win the game so these guys have done it all year. These guys are very resilient and they battled to the end. They just don't give up and that's a credit to them and how they go about it," Candaele said.

The Bisons got the scoring started early with a three-run second inning. Addison Barger went deep for his second home run of the season and Tanner Morris doubled in a pair of runs to spot the Bisons' pitching staff the lead. They gave the lead back and then some in the fifth when the Red Sox scored five capped off by a three-run home run from Wilyer Abreu.

The score held there at 5-3 although to the bottom of the ninth. The Bisons had been held hitless from the third inning until the ninth when Rob Brantly drilled a home run to lead off the ninth. With the deficit cut down to one the next two batters struck out for Buffalo before Morris drilled a single up the middle. Now trailing by one, Morris singled up the middle to keep Buffalo alive. Cameron Eden came on as a pinch runner and swiped second for his 32nd stolen base. Later in the same at-bat, Nathan Lukes drove in the game-tying run to even the game at five. Lukes would be cut down at the plate on a base hit from Davis Schnieder to send the game to extra innings.

In the top half of the tenth, Daniel Palka drilled a three-run home run to put Worcester back on top and seemingly deflate the momentum the Bisons had built. However, Buffalo had one last rally left in them.

Spencer Horwitz led off by getting hit by a pitch to join Schnieder, the ghost runner, on base. Jordan Luplow followed with a bloop single that resulted in Horwitz being cut down at second base for the first out. Barger singled in a run to cut the deficit down to two before pinch hitter Rafael Lantigua worked a walk. Otto Lopez popped out to put the Bisons down to their final out with De Los Santos stepping to the plate where he delivered the exclamation mark on a second come-from-behind effort in as many innings.

I just wanted to keep it simple and understand it was a big moment and just slow things down as best as I can for myself," De Los Santos said speaking through a translator. " I knew he (Oddanier Mosqueda) attacks righties with his fastball working to the outer half of the zone to the upper part so that was the plan just to try and stop on top and stay above it and get a good pitch to hit."

The win moved Buffalo (35-43) to 1-2 in the early portion of the second half while Worcester (41-37) moves to 2-1. They'll square off once Saturday, July 1, with first pitch scheduled for 6:05 pm.

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