PAWTUCKET – A three-run home run by Moises Sierra and a solid start by Ricky Romero proved an unbeatable combination as the Buffalo Bisons bested Pawtucket, 7-2. Saturday’s four-game series opener was played before 10,116 at McCoy Stadium.
The Bisons pounded out 12 hits in winning for the ninth time in 13 games; the PawSox had won six straight. With the win, the third-place Herd (67-61) moved within a half game of Pawtucket (67-60) and remain 2.5 games behind first place Rochester in the IL North.
Romero (4-6) scattered six hits, allowing one run and fanning six with one walk in seven innings. Reliever John Stilson, throwing in the mid-90s, gave up an unearned run in his two innings. He threw 13 of his 21 pitches for strikes.
The Herd took the lead for good by scoring four runs in the fourth inning. The frame was highlighted by a three-run homer to right center by Sierra. His 11th homer made the score 5-1 and gave him 51 RBIs this season.
Jim Negrych had three hits, including a scorching line drive that grazed the pitching hand of PawSox reliever Jose De La Torre as he raised his hand to protect this head. He took a couple of warm-up tosses and stayed in the game.
Andy LaRoche had a pair of hits, extending his hitting streak to nine games. The series continues today at 1 p.m. (Radio 1520) as lefty Sean Nolin will make his Triple-A debut. The Red Sox will start Charlie Haeger (3-3, 5.29 ERA).
Nolin was part of several player moves announced by the Bisons on Saturday. He and catcher A.J. Jimenez were promoted from Double-A New Hampshire. The club also announced that right-hander Buddy Carlyle has been placed on the disabled list, retroactive to Aug. 15.
Nolin, 23, has spent most of the 2013 season with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. In 17 starts, he is 8-3 with a 3.01 ERA and 103 strikeouts.
Jimenez, 23, played 50 games with New Hampshire and batted .276 with 15 doubles, three home runs and 29 RBIs. His season did not start until May because he had Tommy John surgery in May of 2012. Carlyle is 4-2 with a 3.86 ERA in 36 games with the Bisons.