In a pitching duel, it was the Buffalo Bisons who blinked first.
Herd starter Garrett Olson pitched a beautiful game for the better part of seven innings, but his first pitch to Carlos Rivero ended up beyond the center-field wall as the Syracuse Chiefs earned a 2-0 win before 7,536 at Coca-Cola Field Thursday night.
With the loss, the Herd fell into a tie for last place in the International League North Division with Syracuse.
It was perhaps the best outing of the season for Olson, who made his 21st start for the Herd.
With two outs in the seventh, the first pitch Olson threw to Rivero was pounded back out of the park to break a scoreless game and put the Chiefs up, 1-0.
"I tried to go fast away there and just left it up. He was all over it," Olson said. "Just that one mistake. You wish you could take it back but it's better to be aggressive than walking a hitter and putting him on base. I don't regret it. I just went after it and he did a good job of hitting it out."
But it was the only blemish on an outstanding performance from Olson. He gave up only one other hit - a single in the first inning - with one walk. He struck out seven and threw 59 of his 84 pitches for strikes.
"I liked the tempo of the game," Bison manager Wally Backman said. "He worked fast. He threw strikes. He stayed ahead of the hitters and was able to put hitters away. All of his stuff was very good. He had a swing-and-miss breaking ball at times. I thought he did an outstanding job."
For his part, Olson enjoyed working with catcher Mike Nickeas, who joined the club on July 27 after spending most of the season with the New York Mets.
"Nickeas did a great job back there mixing up the pitches with me and working on elevating and changing planes with hitters and letting the defense work behind you," Olson said. "He's great at finding your strengths. For me tonight I felt all three pitches were working so he was able to call a good mix back there."
Syracuse's Yunesky Maya (9-8) threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings. He gave up two hits - a single to Josh Satin in the second and a double to Rodriguez in the sixth. He struck out seven and walked two.
Buffalo and Syracuse are both 54-57 - a statistic that doesn't sit well with the Bison clubhouse.
"No, it doesn't [sit well]," Backman said. "Not to make excuses but we've run so many people through the clubhouse. We just got [Kirk] Nieuwenhuis, [Lucas] Duda and Nickeas down here [from the Mets]. We've got to try and get them on track because we know they're supposed to be in the big leagues. And they're going to be back in the big leagues. But we've got to get these guys on track so they can help us."
Fans attending Friday night's Zombie Night fridaynightbash! are encouraged to donate back-to-school items to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Buffalo. Fans who donate school supplies will receive a buy-one-get-one ticket voucher. ... Right-hander Jeurys Familia (7-7, 4.88) is scheduled to start for the Herd against righty Jeff Mandel (2-3, 2.53).