Buffalo Bisons drop series in Arnold Leon’s first start
BUFFALO, NY. _ The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders found every hole that the Buffalo Bisons couldn’t on Wednesday afternoon at Coca-Cola Field.
A total of 14 hits were scattered across nine innings by the RailRiders (14-13), including four infield singles and a handful of seeing-eye ground balls to defeat Buffalo 6-4 in the series’ rubber match. Bisons’ (11-15) starter Arnold Leon was finding a lot of bats in his first start of the season, which forced him from the game early after 63 pitches.
A 28-pitch first frame limited Leon’s start to just three innings. Outside his run of three consecutive strikeouts in the second, the right-hander allowed two runs on seven hits.
“Leon didn’t have the command he had the first time out,” said manager Gary Allenson after the game. In Leon’s first outing of the season, he struck out six batters over four innings of work. “He struggled getting the ball down and obviously that hurt him.”
Jon Berti put the Bisons ahead in the sixth inning with his first home run since being promoted from double-A New Hampshire. Andy Burns launched a two-run home run in the 5th, his second of the year.
After starting at shortstop for the Bisons on Tuesday, Burns got the nod at second base in the series finale, his ninth game at the position this season. Burns has also seen time at third base and in both corner outfield positions.
“Last year is when I really started getting comfortable with it,” he said following the loss. “Now, at this point, it’s second nature. I get my work in everywhere and get prepared to play wherever I’m playing that night.”
Chris Leroux followed Leon out of the bullpen and pitched five innings, the most from a Bisons’ reliever this season, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits and two walks, striking out one.
“I think I was trying to be too fine,” Leroux said regarding the pair of walks. “I knew that I needed to eat some innings and help the bullpen out a little bit.”
After working with Leon in his debut relief outing in late April, catcher Tony Sanchez received the start over A.J. Jimenez. Allenson still expects Jimenez to be given the majority share of Buffalo’s reps behind the plate, though.
“If something happens up with [Russell] Martin, I think A.J.’s the guy that’s going to move up,” Allenson said. “So he’s going to get more of the playing time. But those things can change sometimes. Somebody gets hot, somebody gets nicked up. We’ll just go with the flow right now, but A.J.’s the main guy.”
Top Yankees prospect Aaron Judge opened the scoring for the RailRiders on the first pitch he saw, launching a line-drive solo home run over the wall in centre. Gary Sanchez and Rob Refsnyder both went 3-for-5, with the right-fielder Refsnyder driving in two runs.
Bisons’ centre-fielder Junior Lake had the defensive highlight for the second straight game, extending to make a diving catch that ended the third inning with two runners in scoring position.
Jesus Montero first broke the Bisons through in the third inning with an RBI single. Domonic Brown kept that inning alive by fouling off three two-strike pitches before dropping a single just over the head of shortstop Donovan Solano. Burns worked a nine-pitch walk ahead of Brown.
Left-handed reliever Chad Girodo was promoted to the Toronto Blue Jays prior to Wednesday’s game as the major league club optioned Matt Dominguez back to triple-A.
The Syracuse Chiefs arrive in Buffalo on Thursday for a four-game series, opening with Drew Hutchison and Austin Voth on the mound. Syracuse currently sits atop the International League standings.