Moises Sierra led off the sixth inning with a single.
He then stole second to put himself into scoring position and hustled to third later on a passed ball.
Sierra isn’t a classic base stealer. But he’s adding that dimension to his game. And his game looks even better since he returned to action from a stint on the disabled list.
Sierra had a pair of hits and scored what proved to be the winning run for the Buffalo Bisons in their 3-2 win over the Columbus Clippers in front of 7,852 at Coca-Cola Field on Wednesday.
It was Sierra’s third stolen base in three games since returning from a hamstring injury.
The hamstring looked just fine as he worked his way around the bases, scoring on a throwing error after Sean Ochinko hit a hard grounder to third base. It looked great in the outfield, too, as he made a diving, and important, grab in left field in the second inning.
“I feel good. I work hard. That’s it,” Sierra said. “I worked on stealing bases with my coach. He taught me and I tried to steal.”
Sierra missed 15 games with the hamstring injury, going to Florida during that stretch for some rehabilitation work.
He returned to the lineup on Monday and in his first three games back is batting .454 (5 for 11).
“He came back, and he’s swinging the bat better than he did before,” Bisons manager Marty Brown said. “He’s put in some good work. The thing with Mo is he just has to be focused. If he has a good plan, Mo can be a very exciting player and of late he’s really had the commitment to make sure he sticks with it. It’s refreshing to see.”
It’s refreshing also to see the focus of the entire Bisons lineup. Heads-up, smart play helped the Herd take advantage of three Columbus errors.
Trailing 1-0, the Herd capitalized on two errors in the fifth to gain a 2-1 lead.
Ochinko led off with a double and moved to third when Ryan Goins laid down a sacrifice bunt that Daisuke Matsuzaka threw away, putting runners on the corners with no outs.
Mike McCoy singled to short, scoring Ochinko to tie the game, and a throwing error by Juan Diaz allowed Goins to move to third. Anthony Gose flew out to left to score Goins and give the Herd a 2-1 advantage.
Thad Weber (4-4) pitched a solid game, giving up one run on four hits in seven innings. He struck out four and issued no walks.
“I made some mechanical adjustments after the second inning and kind of got back on track,” Weber said. “I got back into what I normally do, command the zone, mix pitches and get results. I thought I did that pretty well.”
Sergio Santos continued his minor-league rehabilitation with the Herd, pitching in back-to-back outings. He last threw in back-to-back games on Sunday and Monday in Dunedin.
Santos struck out the first batter he faced in the eighth, then gave up a double and got a ground out. A two-out single from third baseman Ryan Rohlinger scored a run and cut the Bisons’ lead to 3-2.
Neil Wagner earned his 14th save by striking out the side for the Herd in the ninth.
Matsuzaka (2-6) started for Columbus and pitched seven innings. Of the three runs he gave up, only one was earned. He allowed seven hits with a walk and six strikeouts.
The series concludes today (1:05 p.m., Radio 1520) with Justin Germano (6-7, 5.08 ERA) scheduled to start for the Herd against Carlos Carrasco (3-0, 3.23). The Bisons then leave for an eight-game road trip with four-game sets at Toledo and Columbus.
At today’s game, JNK’s Call of the Wild Animal Sanctuary will be at the ballpark bringing tigers Shantel and Sebastian for fans to see up close.