It was a comprehensive hit parade for the Buffalo Bisons on Tuesday night, the polar opposite from the night before when they left far too many men stranded on base and in scoring position.
It was one of those nights when a seven-run lead evaporated in just one inning but didn’t seem to phase the Bisons. They merely took over the lead again shortly thereafter. The Herd split the four-game series with Pawtucket in a 12-8 triumph in front of 8,527 at Coca-Cola Field.
The Bisons did what they were constructed to do – win with hitting – although injuries to key members have at times hamstrung the offense. Not on Tuesday. Clint Robinson went 3 for 5 with three RBIs while Ryan Goins went 3 for 4 with a pair of RBIs. Mike McCoy was 2 for 4 and scored two runs as did Anthony Gose, who went 2 for 5 and added a two-run homer in the second.
“It just goes to show that hitting is contagious,” Goins said. “The past couple of weeks we’ve been struggling to score runs but after the second inning we came back and scored a couple and then we kept it going for the rest of the game.”
After starter Ricky Romero gave up seven runs, all earned, in the fourth inning, reliever Buddy Carlyle (4-1) came in to shut down the Red Sox (61-56) in 2∏ innings of work while allowing only one hit and striking out six.
“Obviously we were swinging the bats really well so you just try and keep the game within reach and let the hitters do their job,” Carlyle said.
It was a critical win for Buffalo in the hotly-contested International League wild-card race. Norfolk (62-56) has a half-game lead in the wild-card standings over Pawtucket (61-56) while the Bisons (59-57) are two games back.
With the game tied at 7, the Bisons restored some sense of order by scoring three runs in the fourth and added some insurance with two more in the sixth to pull away. In its 5-4 loss on Monday to the PawSox, Buffalo left 10 men on base and was 3 for 12 with runners in scoring position.
“It was a great win after a tough loss Monday night and with the tight race that we’re in with Pawtucket we needed to come out and swing bats and that’s what we did,” Robinson said.
Romero looked good through the first three innings without even a hint of the impending doom in the fourth. Will Middlebrooks hit a solo homer, then after the PawSox tacked on two more runs, Jeremy Hazelbacker launched a three-run shot to right to trim the lead to 7-6. He also hit a solo homer in the ninth.
After Xander Bogaerts’ RBI single tied the game at 7, Bisons manager Marty Brown finally pulled Romero for Carlyle.
The seven-run nightmare for Romero was a far cry from his outing at Columbus last Thursday when he was credited for the win after yielding just one run in 6∏ innings. He also tied his season-high with seven strikeouts.
“He’s not perfect,” Brown said. “He still has work to do.”
The Bisons opened up a 4-0 lead in the first. The sweet-swinging Robinson hit a two-run double and Luis Jimenez followed with a double into the alley in right-center. Robinson scored and Buffalo held a 3-0 lead.
The next batter, Goins, drew a two-out walk before Mike Nickeas’ ground ball snuck under the glove of third baseman Bogaerts and Jimenez rumbled in from second.
When PawSox starter Keith Couch ended the inning by striking out Munenori Kawasaki, his pitch count already reached 50.
Reliever Jose Contreras took the mound in the second but after a McCoy single, he fired a belt-high fastball to Gose, who shipped the offering over the party tent in right-center. Soon the lead swelled to 7-0, an advantage that was short-lived.