When Buffalo Bisons first baseman Rich Aude sees the Louisville Redbirds again on May 30, he better be on his best behavior.
Aude gave the Herd a 5-4 win over Louisville Sunday at Pilot Field with a majestic home run leading off the ninth. But he irritated the Redbirds' bench -- and may have earned some retaliation in a future meeting -- by admiring it until it had landed high atop the left-field screen.
He further raised Louisville's ire by flipping his bat away and having it topple near catcher Erik Pappas.
As Aude circled the bases to complete Buffalo's second straight win, losing pitcher Rob Wishnevski was restrained by umpires and Pappas pointed a menacing finger at him. Several Redbirds players yelled at him from in front of their dugout before the situation was defused.
Aude, who extended his hitting streak to 11 games with the blast, pleaded innocence by noting it was the first game-winning home run of his six-year pro career.
"I had to cherish it. I took just a few steps and I probably shouldn't have, but I was milking it a little," said Aude, 22. "Nothing would have happened if he (Wishnevski) hadn't said anything to me."
Wishnevski could not be located for comment afterward. Louisville manager Joe Pettini was clear in how he thought Aude should have handled the situation.
"He should round the bases, step on home plate, go in the clubhouse and then celebrate," Pettini said. "Somebody should tell him that's not how a professional acts."
Bisons manager Doc Edwards said he intends to do just that.
"I didn't like what Richie did. It was a thing done by a young player," Edwards said. "Basketball is in-your-face, but not baseball."
Edwards saw trouble brewing as soon as Aude starting watching the ball head for the screen. He began yelling from the dugout to get his player to round the bases.
Edwards said he partly understood Aude's reaction. Bisons players and other American Association teams have been annoyed by the mound antics of Louisville reliever Steve Dixon, who routinely yells at opponents while pitching.
But, Edwards noted, Aude shouldn't have responded against Wishnevski.
"My job is to get him to the big leagues and not get him hurt," Edwards said. "They have a veteran ballclub over there, and veterans can really find a way to hurt you with retaliation if they want."
"If they want to hit me, that's fine," Aude said. "I can take what anybody's got. I've been hit many times (including a broken jaw in 1989), so I can take it."
A crowd of 10,469 saw Aude's fourth homer of the year overshadow a stellar pitching performance by Buffalo's Scott Scudder. After yielding Pappas' three-run homer in the first, he retired 21 of the next 23 hitters he faced.
Scudder left holding a 4-3 lead after Jeff Richardson's one-out single in the ninth. Jeff Tabaka yielded a walk to John Mabry and Phil Stephenson's game-tying single before Mike Dyer (2-1) escaped the jam by getting the final two outs.
After quickly falling behind, the Bisons got four runs in the first off Louisville starter Jim Neidlinger. The runs came home on Junior Noboa's double, Aude's sacrifice fly, John Wehner's single and a fielder's choice that saw Wehner tagged out at second on the back end of a double steal attempt that allowed Tim Leiper to jog home with the go-ahead run.
The game then moved swiftly, and scoreless, until the fireworks in the ninth."I felt great to see Rich get that hit because that's his job," Edwards said. "I told him before he went up that he could put an end to this and deposit one by those flagpoles any time he wanted to and he did."