The wheels came off in the ninth inning.
The Buffalo Bisons entered the final frame with a 2-0 lead. But for the second straight night closer Bobby Korecky had a poor performance. Then Steve Delabar allowed two runs to score on wild pitches, including one on an attempted intentional walk. And just like that, the Herd ended up on the losing side of a 3-2 decision to the Norfolk Tides before an announced crowd of 8,143 at Coca-Cola Field Wednesday night.
The loss drops the Herd 3½ games out of the Wild Card spot after Pawtucket defeated Gwinnett on Wednesday.
“That wasn’t the way we scripted it out obviously there,” manager Gary Allenson said. “You know what, we didn’t get it done in the ninth inning and it’s time to move on. We’ve got 19 left and we can’t fret over that because we can’t do anything about it now. … We’ve played real well for the last 3½ weeks. We’ll just move on.”
Putting bad outings out of mind is something Korecky needs to do. The once crisp closer struggled on Tuesday, giving up four runs on four hits as he worked only ∑ of the ninth inning.
He had a 2-0 lead when he took the mound in the ninth Wednesday. He gave up two singles (separated by a strikeout), then an RBI double. Suddenly the Tides had cut the lead in half and had runners in scoring position with just one out.
“His location is not as good as it has been … We’ve talked to him a little bit about utilizing his fastball,” Allenson said. “It’s decent. It’s 89-90 miles an hour there. Just to get him off the same pitch every pitch. He’s been money for us all year long. He’s having a couple hiccups right now.”
The glitches continued for Delabar, who relieved Korecky. With runners on second and third he struck out his first batter, putting the Herd within one out of their 10th win in August.
The call was to intentionally walk Francisco Peguero, but the first pitch he threw sailed high off the glove of catcher Sean Ochinko and to the backstop, allowing pinch runner Quintin Berry to score from third.
To the next batter he again threw a wild pitch. Ochinko did not get to the ball in time and Alvarez hustled home for what proved to be the winning run.
In his second game of a Major League Rehabilitation assignment, Edwin Encarnacion had two ground outs and a flyout in his first three at bats before drilling a single up the middle to lead off the eighth. He took second on a wild pitch but was stranded there after Darin Mastroianni and Pillar struck out and Glenn flew out to right.
The Bisons took a 1-0 lead in the fourth. Mastroianni and Kevin Pillar led off with singles. Brad Glenn laid a bunt down the third base side for the sacrifice, moving both runners into scoring position. A groundout to first from Cole Gillespie scored Mastroianni.
The single for Pillar, who went 1 for 4, extended his hitting streak to 20 games, the best in the International League.
The Bisons got another run in the seventh when Gillespie led off the inning with a solo home run.
Sean Nolin put in another impressive performance from a starter for the Bisons. He threw six scoreless innings, giving up three hits with seven strikeouts.
The homestand concludes today (1:05 p.m., Radio 1520 AM) with lefty Raul Valdes (4-4, 3.36) scheduled to start for the Herd against lefty Chris Jones (6-8, 3.95).
The team announced the Budweiser Clydesdales will be at the ballpark today between 11:45 and 1:05 p.m. Fans will be able to get their pictures taken with America’s most famous horses.