MOOSIC, Pa. — Scranton/Wilkes-Barre set the tone early with a pair of home runs in the first inning and beat the Buffalo Bisons 5-2 on Thursday before a sold-out Fourth of July crowd of 10,000 at PNC Field.
Brent Lillibridge sent his fifth home run of the season over the fence in centerfield, and one batter later, Randy Ruiz connected for his seventh, which cleared the fence in left. The RailRiders added a pair of unearned runs in the third to take a commanding 4-0 lead.
All of the Bisons’ offense came off the bat of Mike McCoy, who homered with Anthony Gose aboard to pull the Herd within three runs in the fifth inning. The Bisons were looking for more when shortstop Ryan Goins followed McCoy with a two-out triple into the gap in right center, but Kevin Pillar popped up to end the inning. The Bisons were no-hit over the final four innings.
Pillar doubled in the first inning, allowing the outfielder to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. Since June 24, the Triple-A rookie has hit .409 (18 of 44) with seven doubles, three home runs and eight RBI. Overall, Pillar has reached safely in all 14 games with the Bisons with a .424 on-base percentage.
McCoy and Gose had multi-hit games, accounting for four of the Herd’s seven hits. McCoy went 2 for 4 with a single and a run scored to go along with the two-run homer and increased his season average to .264.
Buffalo is now 43-43. It’s the third time this season the team has been at .500 following records of 3-3 and 36-36.
Bisons starter Ricky Romero (0-3) is still looking for his first win in what was his 11th start.
The lefthander went six innings giving up five runs on nine hits. In his last start in Charlotte, he struck out a season-high seven in a no-decision over six innings. Romero has now worked six or more innings in four of his last five starts.
RailRiders’ starter Brett Marshall (4-6) scattered seven hits over eight innings and struck out seven.
The game was the first of a two-game series. The teams finish up tonight at 7 (Radio 1520). Justin Germano (5-7, 5.67) is the scheduled starter for the Herd against Jose Ramirez (1-1, 3.71).