COLUMBUS — A four-run second inning and a solid start from pitching Ricky Romero combined to give the Buffalo Bisons a 5-1 victory over Columbus on Thursday before 8,621 fans at Huntington Park
The left-handed Romero (3-5) went six innings – scattering five hits, giving up just one earned run with seven strikeouts and three walks. He threw 64 of his 106 pitches for strikes.
A pair of Bison relievers were just as stingy. John Stillson pitched two shutout innings with two strikeouts. Jeremy Jeffress pitched the ninth, striking out three of the four batters he faced.
Meanwhile the offense gave Romero all the offensive support he would need early against Clippers starter Trevor Bauer (5-4).
The Bisons’ four-run second inning was highlighted by a two-run home run to right by Ryan Goins. His sixth homer of the year also plated Clint Robinson, who had reached on a single. Two Columbus errors helped the Bisons tack on two more runs.
Romero, who was making his 16th start, was coming off Saturday’s game in Toledo in which he allowed three earned runs in 4.1 innings in a defeat to the Mud Hens. In his last 11 starts, Romero has posted 3.98 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 60.1 innings.
The Herd have taken two of three in the four game series that concludes tonight (7 p.m. Radio 1520). The Blue Jays’ J.A. Happ will make his third rehab start with the Bisons while the Clippers will counter with Danny Salazar.
Following tonight’s game, Buffalo returns to Coca-Cola Field for a seven-game homestand against Pawtucket and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Mike McCoy added to his team lead in stolen bases in the second inning with No. 22 on the season. The veteran has only been caught four times for a 84 percent success rate. McCoy is also riding a five-game hit streak over which he has averaged .385 (6-15).
The Bisons are 5-2 against Columbus. They took the opening series 3-1 when they met at Coca-Cola Field, July 22-25.
A series win for Buffalo would be its fourth against Columbus over the last five years.
In a roster move, the Blue Jays have activated right-handed pitcher Sergio Santos off of his major league injury rehab assignment with the Bisons. In six appearances for the Herd, Santos posted a 7.50 ERA without a decision. The righty struck out five and walked two batters in six innings of work.
The Bisons return home to start the final month of the regular season Saturday against Pawtucket on Celery Bobble Head Giveaway.
The club also announced they have added fireworks to the scheduled Pirate Night Aug. 24 and increased the fireworks to the show the Aug. 29 Fan Appreciation Night, making it the Largest Fireworks Show of the Season.
Bisons announce schedule
The Buffalo Bisons, with 17 home dates remaining in 2013, are already looking ahead as they announced the 2014 schedule on Thursday.
Opening Day of the 129th season of professional in Buffalo begins Thursday, April 3 against Rochester.
The schedule will feature 11 fridaynightbash games, one more than 2013. A total of 32 home contests will be played on a Friday, Saturday or a Sunday (44 percent of the schedule) while 44 of 72 games (61 percent) will be played in the summer months of June, July and August.
The team’s annual School Kids Day is June 5 against Toledo, the seventh Star Wars Night is June 7 against Syracuse and the 20th KeyBank Independence Eve Celebration is July 3 against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Throughout the 2014 season, the Bisons will use the customary 7:05 p.m. start time for most evening games after the first month of the season.