COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Buffalo Bisons wasted a golden opportunity to gain on the leaders in the North Division of the International League when their rally from an early deficit fell short in a 3-2 loss Wednesday night to the Columbus Clippers in Huntington Park.

First-place Rochester (61-52) and second-place Pawtucket (59-52) had already lost so the Herd (56-54) could have picked up a game on both.

However, Buffalo could not overcome an early 3-0 deficit after starter Chien-Ming Wang gave up four hits and his only walk in the first inning.

Wang (6-7) was brilliant after that, allowing just two hits the rest of the way, striking out four. But the damage already was done, as it turned out.

Mike McCoy hit a solo homer to get one run back in the fifth and Moises Sierra led off the sixth with a single and scored on a two-out single by Sean Ochinko. Buffalo could not come up with a clutch hit the rest of the way. They left runners on in the seventh and eighth.

In the ninth, McCoy singled against lefty closer Nick Hagadone and stole second. McCoy could only advance to third on a soft fly-ball single to left by Kevin Pillar. With Anthony Gose batting, Pillar stole second to put two runners in scoring position. However, Gose struck out swinging as did Mauro Gomez to end it, giving the Clippers a split of the first two games of the four-game series.

The Bisons were 2 for 7 with runners in scoring position and left 10 on base. Goins (three times) and Gomez (twice) were unable to produce a hit with runners in scoring position.

Besides McCoy’s homer, his third of the season, the only extra-base hit in the game was a first inning double by Matt Carson of the Clippers.

Wang threw 62 of his 97 pitches for strikes in perhaps his most impressive performance as a Bison and he got nine ground ball outs.

T.J. House (4-10), a 24-year-old lefty, earned the win for the Clippers even though he turned things over to the Columbus bullpen after the sixth inning.

Rochester, which moved into first place Monday night, lost at Lehigh Valley, 2-1, while Pawtucket was shut out at home by Norfolk, 3-0.

The Bisons will send Ricky Romero (2-5, 6.01) out to face right-hander Trevor Bauer (5-3, 3.73) in tonight’s game (7:05 p.m., Radio 1520).