ALLENTOWN, Pa. – It’s starting to look as if Triple-A baseball is coming quite easy for pitcher Daniel Norris.
His second start for the Buffalo Bisons since he was recalled from Double-A was about as good as his first one. He went 5∏ innings here in Friday’s game against Lehigh Valley. Norris (2-0) allowed one run on three hits and struck out an impressive 13 batters without giving up a walk.
The Bisons went on to a 7-1 win over the IronPigs. Pawtucket and Rochester both lost Friday, so Buffalo picked up a game in the playoff fight. The Herd are 3½ games behind the Red Sox and a half-game behind the Red Wings in the wild-card race. The win ended the Bisons’ two-game losing streak.
The left-handed pitcher made his first appearance for Buffalo on Aug. 10 at Durham. There he threw six scoreless innings, allowing two hits while striking out 10.
Ryan Tepera and Sergio Santos combined for 3∑ innings of shutout relief. Sixteen IronPigs struck out.
The Bisons needed a good performance from Norris. They finished their homestand Thursday with two losses.
Buffalo scored three runs in the third inning, and blew the game open with four more in the eighth. Ryan Schimpf drove in two of those late runs with a home run.
Meanwhile, the 21-game hitting streak of Kevin Pillar came to an end. The Bisons’ outfielder was 0 for 4. He had one last chance to get a hit in the eighth, but was hit by a pitch to drive in a run.
The same two teams will play tonight. Scott Copeland (1-0, 0.00) goes for Buffalo in this evening’s game (6:35 p.m., Radio 1520 AM).
Prior to the game, the Blue Jays officially recalled first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion off his injury rehab assignment with the Bisons and returned outfielder Anthony Gose to Buffalo. Encarnacion went 2 for 8 with a grand slam in two games here, sitting out Thursday’s series finale against Norfolk as he rejoined the Blue Jays in Chicago. Reliever Colt Hynes, claimed on waivers from the Dodgers on Wednesday, joined the team and catcher Sean Ochinko was sent to Double-A New Hampshire.
The International League announced its 2015 schedule Friday, including a new matrix formulated in part to ease teams’ travel burdens and ensure their days off are spent at home rather than on the road.
The Bisons open the season April 9 in Coca-Cola Field with a 2:05 game against Rochester. The home finale is Sept. 2 against Syracuse and the schedule concludes Sept. 7 at Pawtucket.
The Bisons will play 90 games against IL North opponents, instead of the previous number of 80. The Herd will play Syracuse 21 times, Lehigh Valley 18 times and the trio of Rochester, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Pawtucket 17 times apiece. Since returning to the league in 1998, Buffalo had met its division foes 16 times per season.
Next year’s schedule will see Buffalo play South and West teams from 6 to 8 times apiece, rather than meeting each team in a pair of four-game series.
The Bisons will start weeknight home games in May at 6:05, as they’ve done in April for many years. Times shift to 7:05 in June. Most Sundays and weekday afternoons will start at 1:05 while there will be three 5:05 starts in May and some 6:05 first pitches for special events.
The complete 2015 schedule:
April: 9-10, Rochester; 11-12, at Rochester; 13-14-15, Pawtucket; 16-17-18-19, Lehigh Valley; 20-21-22, at Pawtucket; 23-24-25-26, at Lehigh Valley; 27-28-29-30, Norfolk.
May: 1-2-3, Louisville; 5-6-7, at Durham; 8-9-10, at Norfolk; 11-12-13, Durham; 14-15-16-17, Toledo; 18-19-20, at Columbus; 21-22-23-24, at Toledo; 25-26-27, Indianapolis; 29-30-31, Rochester.
June: 1-2-3, at Indianapolis; 4-5-6-7, at Louisville; 8-9-10, Scranton/WB; 11, Charlotte (DH); 13-14, Charlotte; 15-16-17-18, at Lehigh Valley; 19-20-21, at Syracuse; 23-24-25, Lehigh Valley; 26-27-28, at Scranton/WB; 29-30, Gwinnett.
July: 1, Gwinnett; 2-3, Syracuse; 4-5-6, at Scranton/WB; 7-8-9, at Rochester; 10-11-12, Scranton/WB; 16-17-18-19, Columbus; 20-21-22-23, Syracuse; 24-25-26, at Pawtucket; 27-28-29-30, at Syracuse; 31, Pawtucket.
August: 1-2, Pawtucket; 4-5-6, at Charlotte; 7-8-9, at Gwinnett; 10-11-12-13, Rochester; 14-15-16, at Syracuse; 17-18-19, at Rochester; 21-22-23, Syracuse; 24-25-26, at Lehigh Valley; 27-28, Pawtucket; 29-30-31, Scranton/WB.
September: 1-2, Syracuse; 3-4, at Scranton/WB; 5-6-7, at Pawtucket.