The Buffalo Bisons spotted Pawtucket a three-run lead in the first inning, but no advantage is safe around the Herd these days.
The Bisons (13-4) extended their winning streak to nine games, tying the franchise’s longest in nine seasons, with a 5-3 come-from-behind victory over the Red Sox on Tuesday night at Coca-Cola Field.
Coming off the first 8-0 road trip in the club’s modern era, the Bisons trailed 3-2 in the seventh when Luis Jimenez doubled into the gap in left-center to drive in a pair of runs. Jimenez, who registered three RBIs on the evening, is now tied for the International League lead with 20.
In the eighth, Josh Thole padded the Bisons’ lead with his first home run of the season, a solo shot into Bully Hill in right field.
“These guys are resilient, they know it’s a long game, they know over the course of time they’ll wear a pitcher down,” Bisons manager Marty Brown said.
It’s been quite a stretch for the IL North-leading Bisons, who haven’t lost since falling to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 12-5, on April 14. Buffalo has averaged nearly eight runs during its current win streak, including a 27-run outburst against rival Syracuse in a crushing victory last Thursday.
Before the streak began, Brown spoke about how his hitters needed to remain patient at the plate when they are playing from behind and not try to get all the runs back with one swing. They heeded that advice on Tuesday after the PawSox drilled starter Edgar Gonzalez for three runs in the first inning.
The Herd pulled within a run by scoring twice in the fourth but squandered opportunities by leaving five stranded in scoring position.
“Early on the rainouts didn’t help and guys were anxious, they wanted to get off to a good start and sometimes they get determined and they want to rush out and do something,” Brown said. “That might be the worst thing you can do as a hitter.”
Jimenez said the early-season struggles at the plate were the result of the Bisons learning each other’s tendencies.
“Some guys are coming from other teams, some other guys like to do stuff and some other guys like to do something else,” he said. “Right now, the team is playing together in a good way. Everybody is helping each other.”
The Bisons took the lead in the seventh when Jimenez’s double off reliever Jeremy Kehrt drove in Jim Negrych and Anthony Gose.
“I try to be consistent with what I’m doing with men in scoring position,” Jimenez said. “I got a good scouting report from the guys who faced him before and he likes to throw a lot of change-ups, split and sinkers. I tried to figure it and hit that way. He threw me a change-up outside so I hammered it the other way.”
In the first inning, Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a grounder deep in the hole toward shortstop Lance Zawadzki, whose throw sailed toward the Bisons’ bullpen in right field. The speedy Bradley advanced to third on the throwing error and scored on Drew Sutton’s ground ball for a 1-0 lead.
Justin Henry hit a sharp single to right then moved into scoring position when he swiped second. Edgar Gonzalez struck out Brandon Snyder but Bryce Brentz crushed Gonzalez’s curve ball into the screen in left field and a 3-0 PawSox lead.
Then with two down, Jeremy Hazelbaker extended the inning with a double to right before Jose Iglesias grounded out to end it.
PawSox starter Rubby De La Rosa reached his pitch limit and was lifted for reliever Kehrt in the fourth inning. That’s when the Bisons’ bats came alive.
Mauro Gomez started the inning with a triple and Jimenez drove him in with a double. Andy LaRoche followed with a single and Jimenez scored on Josh Thole’s single to right to trim Pawtucket’s lead to 3-2. Eugenio Velez reached on a fielder’s choice, but was picked off by Kehrt for the second out. Zawadzki struck out swinging for the third out.
Brown said outfielder Moises Sierra, out since Saturday with a hand injury, should be in the lineup for Wednesday’s game against the PawSox. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.