The Buffalo Bisons suddenly aren’t getting enough clutch base hits.
The trend, which has popped up lately, continued during Saturday’s home game. The Louisville Bats had taken a 4-0 lead in the third inning when the Bisons responded by loading the bases with one out.
But a pop out by Ryan Langerhans to short and a strikeout by Mauro Gomez left all three runners stranded.
It was the third time in the last two games that the Herd had loaded the bases only to leave the inning with no runs to show for the effort.
The Herd battled back, cutting the deficit to one with a three-run fourth inning. A solo home run from Ryan Langerhans tied the game in the fifth and the Herd took a 5-4 lead in the seventh when a sacrifice to center by Gomez scored Jim Negrych from third.
An error, single and walk for the Bats in the eighth inning set up Emmanuel Burriss for a two-run single which gave Louisville a 6-5 lead they would hold the rest of the game.
The Bisons have stranded 25 runners on base the past two games, going just 6 for 29 with runners in scoring position over that span.
“These guys battle and always feel like they have the ability to make something happen,” manager Marty Brown. “Our situational hitting has got to get better. We’ve failed way too many times. Guys are trying to do too much.”
Brown was disappointed in Langerhans’ at-bat with one out and the bases loaded in the third. Then again, Langerhans wasn’t supposed to be in the game.
In the first inning, Moises Sierra took a pitch square off his hand, but home plate umpire Dave Soucy called it a foul ball. That meant strike two for Sierra instead of taking first base via hit-by-pitch.
Sierra spiked his helmet and promptly was ejected by Soucy. Langerhans came in to finish the at-bat and take Sierra’s spot in the lineup.
“I know he’s bruised,” Brown said. “It’s really a disappointing day. You lose your prospect three-hole hitter on a bad call. It was instigated by the umpire which is disappointing. Hopefully we don’t have any more games like that.”
Friday night’s 4-3 win in 11 innings for the Bisons went 4 hours and 17 minutes, making it the 11th longest in Coca-Cola Field’s 26 seasons. It was, however, the longest game to go just 11 innings. The 10 games that went longer were all at least 12 innings.
Of those 10 longest games, the Herd has lost eight of them.
For the record, the longest game at Coca-Cola Field in time and innings is 5 hours and 13 minutes, a 6-2 loss to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 19 innings on Sept. 9, 2001. That was Game Five of the International League semifinals.
Saturday afternoon Justin Germano was outrighted to the Bisons. The right-handed pitcher started the season with the Herd but had his contract selected by the Toronto Blue Jays on April 27. He made one appearance with the Jays, allowing two runs with one strikeout in two innings.
In four starts with the Bisons this season, Germano is 3-1 with a 6.65 earned run average, including giving up just two walks against 15 strikeouts in 23 innings of work.
Saturday’s attendance was 6,928 ... The series concludes today at 1:05 p.m. (Radio 1520). Righty Ramon Ortiz (1-0, 2.13) is scheduled to start for the Herd against righty Daniel Corcino (1-4, 7.65). ... The homestand will continue on Monday when Norfolk arrives for a four-game series.