The first thought was to blast a home run.
That’s what entered Brett Wallace’s mind when he came to bat in the bottom of the ninth. The Indianapolis Indians had just intentionally walked Kevin Pillar in front of him and in that situation, the next batter usually wants to show up the opposition.
But there was no need for dramatic showmanship. A solid rip to right field provided the drama, and the winning run for the Buffalo Bisons.
Wallace’s single scored Jonathan Diaz to cap a 5-4 comeback win for the Herd over the Indians in front of 6,802 at Coca-Cola Field Wednesday night.
“Anytime someone gets walked in front of you, your first thought is … to hit a home run,” Wallace said. “For me it was just to try and stay within myself, put a good swing on it and lift the ball in the outfield. With Diaz running at third I knew if I got it in the air he would score. So I just tried to slow everything down and put the ball in the air.”
The win was the seventh straight for the Bisons, matching the club’s longest winning streak of the season.
But they needed to dig themselves out of a four-run deficit to do it.
Indianapolis built a 4-0 lead over the first four innings and looked to be in control of the game.
The Herd inched back. Wallace got them started in the fourth when he crushed a home run to dead center field. The two-run shot went off the second tier of the batter’s eye netting below the scoreboard.
The Bisons continued to chip away, getting a run in the fifth when Jared Goedert scored on a fielder’s choice by Diaz. Then, Sean Ochinko tied the game when he homered to left to leadoff the seventh.
The winning run was set up in the ninth when Diaz and Darin Mastroianni had back-to-back singles. Diaz advanced to third on the play when Indianapolis reliever Wifrin Obispo was charged with a throwing error.
After Adron Chambers lined out to first, the Indians intentionally walked Pillar to load the bases with one out.
With the defense playing in, Wallace worked his at-bat and drove a pitch to deep right field, scoring Diaz.
“Through the first three innings we looked like we didn’t show up. We didn’t have much then all of sudden we started hitting the ball and our bullpen did a good job tonight,” said hitting coach Richie Hebner as manager Gary Allenson continued his mandated four-day vacation.
“That’s a nice win for the guys. These guys all stick together. With all the changes we’ve made, the guys have made some good adjustments. We may not be the best team in the league but we’re a bunch of scrappers. That’s the way we’ve done it.”
It was a tough fielding night all around with seven total errors in the game. The Indianapolis pitching staff was charged with five – three by starting pitcher Nick Kingham. Meanwhile, the Bisons committed two errors early in the game, the first time in 32 games that they had more than one miscue in a game. That was when Erik Kratz and Goedert were charged with errors in a 9-0 loss to Columbus on June 26 at Coca-Cola Field.
There were no roster moves for the Bisons through the end of the game, but things could change quickly. The Major League non-waiver trade deadline is at 4 p.m. today.
The series continues today (1:05 p.m.) with Raul Valdes scheduled to start for the Herd. Indianapolis is scheduled to start Casey Sadler (8-3, 285 ERA).
The Bisons will conclude their 10-game homestand on Friday night, hosting the Indians at 7:05 p.m. in a fridaynightbash!