As a steady rain poured down onto field at Lehigh Valley's Coca-Cola Park, the chance to earn a key late-season victory slipped from the Bisons' grasp.
The IronPigs rallied for a 3-2 walk-off victory in the nightcap of a Monday night doubleheader between two of the teams fighting for the lone International League Wild Card race. The Herd was victorious in game one, 5-2, but missed out on the chance to gain ground in the chase for the post season.
As they did entering play on Monday, the Bisons remain tied with Lehigh Valley in the standings, back by 2.5 games. However, the two teams now trail Norfolk, who won 13-1 in Gwinnett.
Lehigh Valley scored two runs in the bottom of the 7th inning, to erase a Bisons 2-1 lead. After Michael Martinez singled and was advanced into scoring position with a sacrifice, Cameron Rupp grounded a Mickey Storey offering to short. No doubt affected by the rain that fell for most of game two, Mike McCoy's throw to first base was low and couldn't be handled by Clint Robinson.
With all runners safe, the IronPigs had the game-tying and game-winning runs now on base. Derrick Mitchell and Freddy Galvis promptly followed with RBI-singles to hand the Herd the 3-2 defeat.
What is an extremely tough loss appeared to be a huge victory just an inning before. After Lehigh Valley pitching retired 16 consecutive Bisons, McCoy drew a two-out walk and Blake Gailen followed with a rocket home run to give the Herd a 2-1 advantage.
For Gailen, the home run was the first of his Triple-A career. The outfielder collected both of Buffalo's two hits in the game two loss.
The Bisons were in position to gain ground thanks to a 5-2 victory in game one that included a heads up play from Luis Jimenez. The slugger's bunt single opposite an over-shifted infield was the key hit in a three-run Buffalo fifth inning that built a 4-0 advantage for the club.
McCoy had two run-scoring hits in game one with RBI-singles in the 3rd and 5th innings.
The bullpen combination of John Stilson (win) and Jeremy Jeffress (save) tossed 2.2 innings of shutout relief in the victory.
The Bisons now have seven games left in the 2013 season, including four against the Rochester Red Wings. The Herd faces the IronPigs on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m.
BISONS NOTES Prior to the games, the Bisons activated Mike Nickeas of the team's temporary inactive list and added reliever Brad Lincoln, who was optioned from Toronto this weekend…Ryan Langerhans had two hits and two runs scored in game one…The game two defeat was the Bisons first in six games at Coca-Cola Park in Lehigh Valley this season…Justin Germano allowed just one run in six innings in the no decision in game two.