The Buffalo Bisons and Pawtucket Red Sox are growing familiar with having a pitchers' duel when they meet.
The latest one was Monday night, a 3-0 PawSox win at McCoy Stadium that saw just nine combined hits, three by the Herd. It was the fifth time in 14 meetings this season that the teams combined to score less than five runs.
On his road back from having Tommy John surgery in June, 2012, Kyle Drabek played in his second game with the Herd on MLB injury rehab. The right-hander followed his impressive initial outing with the Herd on Aug. 14 - three innings of scoreless relief to earn the win - with his first start for the team. Drabek (1-1) pitched well again, going four innings on 61 pitches, 34 strikes, but earned the loss. He allowed two runs on three hits and a walk and registered a strikeout while his counterpart, Clayton Mortensen was just a little better to get the win.
Mortensen (3-0) foiled Buffalo's lineup in his six innings of work. Clint Robinson's single to center with two outs in the fourth was the lone hit against Mortensen, who walked three and struck out five.
The Bisons' struggled to generate offense for the second straight game after getting just six hits Sunday in a 3-1 loss to the Red Sox. A.J. Jimenez and Brad Glenn were the only other Bisons to record hits.
The positive in that, however, is that the newcomers are getting comfortable at a new level quickly. With Glenn's ninth-inning single, he now has a hit in each of his first five games in Triple-A and Jimenez's double in the eighth made it two consecutive games with a hit to start his Triple-A career.
Jimenez's one-out two-bagger to center also started a potential rally. Mike McCoy followed with a walk and Moises Sierra worked his way back from being down 0-2 to draw a two-out free pass and load the bases. Robinson's groundout to first ended the threat.
Heiker Meneses drove in the winning run in the third, lining a single to right field. Jeremy Hazelbaker struck out, which would have been the second out, but the final pitch was a wild one and got by Jimenez, allowing him to reach first. The center fielder promptly stole second, putting him in position to score with Meneses at the plate.
The final game of a four-game series will be Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. Buffalo will go for the series split and try to narrow the gap in the International League wild-card standings. The loss drops the Bisons 2 ½ games behind wild-card-leading Pawtucket and 1 ½ games back of Norfolk, which is second in the wild-card race.
BISONS NOTES: It was the 10th time Buffalo was shut out this season…Drew Hutchison (0-1, 10.80) will take the mound for the Herd on Tuesday…The Bisons stranded eight base-runners, going 0 for 4 while they were in scoring position…Ricardo Nanita's five-game hitting streak was snapped.