Buffalo Bisons pitcher Dave Bush entered play Monday fourth in the International League in earned-run average at 1.61. The 33-year-old right-hander exited his start at 3.46, with his spot among the leaders a memory. Just one of those nights.
That pretty much tells you how Monday’s series opener went against the Norfolk Tides. The visitors clubbed three homers and seven extra-base hits in rolling past Buffalo, 8-3, before an announced crowd of 4,995 in Coca-Cola Field.
Bush had given up just two homers in 22∑ innings over his four starts but couldn’t avoid the longball Monday.
Norfolk first baseman Travis Ishikawa, an alum of the 2010 World Series champion San Francisco Giants, homered in his first two at-bats and former Bison Jason Pridie added a two-run shot in the fourth. That capped a four-run inning that put the Tides in charge, 6-1.
“I couldn’t keep the ball out of the middle of the plate. I wish I had an explanation for it,” said Bush, who has a pair of 12-win seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers on his resume. “I was trying to find a little bit of anything I could when I was out there. But it just seemed like every time I tried to hit the corners, it drifted toward the middle of the plate.”
Ishikawa entered the game with no home runs and a .242 average in 91 at-bats this year before crushing a fastball for a no-doubter over the grass berm in right to put Norfolk up, 2-1, in the top of the second. He then drove a leadoff shot over the fence in right in the fourth.
“That one was frustrating because I felt the pitch before I threw a good curveball and then I tried to throw another one and it wasn’t a good one,” Bush said. “I just couldn’t repeat my delivery enough tonight.”
“Just not his day,” added manager Marty Brown. “That’s kind of what I told him when I went out to get the ball. He didn’t command the ball early in the count, and behind in the count he was up.”
Bush was pulled when shortstop Yamaico Navarro, who went 4 for 5, lashed a double immediately following Pridie’s home run.
“I’ll come in [today] and get back on my five-day routine between starts,” Bush said. “There’s always something to learn from it. I’ll get back in the bullpen in a couple days, try to get back to where I want to be.”
Ishikawa played 120 games for the Giants in 2009 and 116 more in 2010, when he batted .266. He was the starter at first base for San Francisco’s Game Four win at Texas and the Giants won their first title in 52 years out West the next night. He was signed as a free agent by Baltimore.
Designated hitter Luis Jimenez led the Buffalo offense with an RBI single in the first and a booming home run over the party deck in right leading off the fourth. It pulled him into a tie for the club lead with Ryan Langerhans (six), and extended his IL-leading RBI total to 29.
It was an otherwise quiet night for the Buffalo offense. Anthony Gose went 0 for 5 with four strikeouts. Second baseman Jim Negrych, who came into the game leading the IL in batting at .416, went 1 for 4 with a third-inning double.
The series continues tonight at 7 (Radio 1520 AM) with Buffalo’s Justin Germano (3-1) returning to the mound after coming back down from Toronto. He will be opposed by Norfolk righty Jake Arrieta (2-0, 1.38).