With two outs and the bases loaded, Ryan Goins took the first two pitches for balls.
Then Scranton lefty Josh Spence threw a slider that hung over the plate and Goins crushed the pitch to left-center field, clearing the bases and capping a big first inning for the Buffalo Bisons.
That aggressiveness at the plate is what helped Goins succeed last season in Double-A New Hampshire and it’s a quality he has brought with him to Triple-A.
His three RBIs helped propel the Herd to a 6-1 win over the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in the first game of a doubleheader at Coca-Cola Field before 5,361.
The Bisons followed that performance with a 12-5 loss in the nightcap of the seven-inning twinbill.
Goins, who started at shortstop in the first game and didn’t play the second, went 1 for 3 to extend his hitting streak to three games (3-11, .272).
“He’s aggressive,” manager Marty Brown said. “He learns pitch to pitch. He’s not a guy that makes a mistake twice from what we’ve seen. It’s early in the year. He’s young. He’s still learning the pitching here but he hasn’t shown any signs of being timid.”
Goins played all season with New Hampshire in 2012, earning All-Star honors after leading the Eastern League with 158 hits. In 136 games he batted .289 with 33 doubles, four triples, seven home runs and 61 RBIs.
That earned him a spot on the Toronto Blue Jays’ 40-man roster.
In 13 spring training games with the Blue Jays, he batted .222 (4-18) with a home run and four RBIs.
While the 25-year-old is one of the bright prospects in the Jays’ organization, his approach is one that emphasizes each moment, not big-picture pressure.
His expectations are “just to play as well as I can every day. That’s really it,” Goins said. “You don’t say, ‘I want to hit .300’ or do this or do that. You just want to go out there and do as good as you can and at the end of the year look at how it was.
“To me, it’s just adding pressure. It’s not any good. Really, I’m just trying to go out every day and just do what I can to help the team win and play as good as I can. I think that’s what everyone here is doing. You don’t want to put pressure to hit .320 or this many home runs. Because every day is not the same.”
For the Bisons, every game is not the same, even when played on the same day.
After a solid outing in the first game, the Bisons booted the ball around in the second game.
Starter Miguel Batista didn’t even last the first, pitching ∏ of an inning though only one of the three runs he gave up was earned thanks to a pair of errors – one on a ground ball by first-baseman Mauro Gomez and one by right fielder Moises Sierra.
In the third inning, with one out and two runners on base, Sierra made a fantastic catch running across right-center field. But he jogged for about 30 yards, forgetting that it was only the second out, allowing Scranton’s Zoilo Almonte to easily tag to third.
After that play three runs would score for the RailRiders, giving them a 6-4 lead and control of the game.
“That’s the thing that Mo has to understand,” Brown said about Sierra. “He’s getting better. He plays with a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of excitement. He has fun and sometimes he just has to get prepared a little bit better. But he’s extremely talented and we’re fortunate to have him.”
Better preparation was a theme for the Herd in the second game. Anthony Gose went 3 for 4 in the opener but was 0 for 4 in the nightcap. And the pitching staff, well, they weren’t offering their best stuff, either.
And while part of it can be attributed to an extended layoff after four straight rainouts, Brown was disappointed overall in the preparation for the nightcap.
“I really liked the way we did things in the first game and then the second game is like we came back a totally different team,” Brown said. “We didn’t play defense. We kicked a couple balls early. Lot of pitches. We threw 216 pitches.
“The errors and mistakes we made were more lack of concentration than physical. That’s the thing that those layoff days sometimes cause things like that to happen. There’s no excuse for that. We still have to go out and get prepared.”
Buffalo starts a road trip today in Syracuse.