COLUMBUS — The Buffalo Bisons didn’t make the wrong type of history here Friday night at Huntington Park, but that was the only positive they gained out of an 8-0 loss to the Columbus Clippers.
A crowd of 10,100 saw four Columbus pitchers come within an out of recording the International League’s second no-hitter of the season. Anthony Gose’s single to right on a 2-2 count off Clay Rapada enabled the Bisons to avoid being no-hit for the first time since Bronson Arroyo’s perfect game against them on Aug. 10, 2003 in a 7-0 win by Pawtucket. Danny Salazar struck out eight in five innings to earn the win.
The Blue Jays’ J.A. Happ, making a rehab start with the Herd, yielded three earned runs on six hits in 4∏ innings to take the loss.
The Bisons, who were trying to end their eight-game road trip with a winning record before opening a seven-game homestand tonight against Pawtucket (7:05, TWCS, Radio 1520 AM), seemed to have received a boost when IL All-Star and St. Francis product Jim Negrych was activated off the disabled list before the game. He missed the last eight games with a sore Achilles tendon, but entered Friday leading the Bisons in batting average (.305), doubles (25), hits (91) and on-base percentage (.380).
It didn’t matter. Negrych was the only Bison to reach base during the first 8∏ innings – achieving the feat in the fourth via a two-out error by first baseman Chun-Hsiu Chen.
The Clippers scored once in the third, fourth and fifth innings before adding two in the sixth and three in the eighth. Tim Fedroff had two hits and drove in four runs, including two on a sixth-inning single.
The loss prevented the Bisons from making up any ground in the IL playoff race, but they still have a legitimate shot at ending a postseason drought that dates back to 2005.
Buffalo, which has just one winning season since 2008, has a chance to catch one of the teams it’s chasing over the next four days, wild-card leading Pawtucket. The Bisons trail the PawSox by two games (pending their game against Norfolk which didn’t end in time for this edition). Both IL North rivals are still within striking distance of division-leading Rochester. Buffalo, which has 32 games left, trails the Red Wings by 3ø games.
The Bisons had room to activate Negrych when the parent Blue Jays recalled reliever Neil Wagner, who leads the Herd with 16 saves and has a 0.76 earned-run average in 23 appearances. He’s 2-3 with a 3.26 ERA in 20 appearances with the Blue Jays.