Aaron Sanchez is usually pretty talkative after outings, even ones that don’t necessarily go his way.
But Thursday night he wasn’t his usual loquacious self. Polite but brief, Sanchez was taking this loss particularly hard.
The starting pitcher gave up a two-run home run in the sixth inning that proved to be the difference as the Durham Bulls took a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Bisons in front of 8,378 at Coca-Cola Field.
“That’s a tough one,” Sanchez said. “Being in control the whole game and to let one mistake cost us the game, I’m taking this one tough.”
It goes down as a quality start as Sanchez gave up three runs, but only two were earned. He struck out six, walked two and scattered five hits in his six innings of work.
Sanchez was working with an early lead as a sacrifice from A.J. Jimenez scored Anthony Gose to put the Bisons up, 1-0, third.
But Gose had a costly error in the fourth.
Justin Christian singled to center and Gose fired the ball to first. Only his throw was off and sailed into the Bisons’ dugout. It was a two-base error, putting Christian on third with no outs. A grounder to second by Mike Fontenot scored Christian.
It was an unearned run for Sanchez, who bounced back with two strikeouts to end the inning.
But the runs in the sixth were very much earned as Christian led off with a double. Sanchez got the next two runners to ground out, but Jeremy Moore crushed a pitch to right field, giving Durham a 3-1 lead.
Sanchez moved to 0-2 in his first six Triple-A starts, but those four no-decisions were largely solid outings.
“I think after the first two starts, which were a little erratic … he’s been pretty good,” manager Gary Allenson said. “He’s pitched well enough to win the last four times out. He pitched real well in Scranton. Gave up a couple solo homers.
“Sometimes it’s a good fastball in not a good spot or somebody putting a good swing on it. That happens. You see a lot of big-league pitchers that have had real good careers do give up homers. Hopefully they’re only one-run shots and not the two- or three-run stuff. For a kid that’s 21, he’s doing great.”
The Herd didn’t get much offense going off Durham’s pitching staff, which combined for 10 strikeouts.
Steve Geltz, a Wilson and University at Buffalo graduate, came on in the seventh and struck out four straight batters before issuing two walks.
The Herd rallied in the ninth. Back-to-back singles from pinch hitters Ryan Schimpf and Cory Aldridge put runners on the corners. A sacrifice to left from Kevin Pillar scored Schimpf. But Gose struck out looking, for the second straight time, and Jimenez also was called out on strikes to end the game.
The series continues tonight (7:05 p.m., TWC, Radio 1520 AM) with right-hander Deck McGuire scheduled to start for the Herd. McGuire is 3-4 with a 5.51 ERA. Durham is scheduled to counter with right-hander Nathan Karns (5-5, 5.99). Before tonight’s game, three people will be inducted into the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame – Eric Wedge, Bob Miske and Greg Tubbs. The Bisons encourage fans to be in their seats by 6:40 p.m. to see the induction ceremony.