A few early rainouts in 2014 forced the Bisons to shuffle their rotation a number of times. For Liam Hendriks, a pair of relief appearances delayed his first start until the Herd's eighth game of the season.
It was well worth the wait.
The Australian was nearly perfect Saturday afternoon at a sun-splashed Coca-Cola Field, allowing just one single over 5.2 innings of work in a 3-2 victory over the PawSox. Kevin Pillar added an RBI-triple as Buffalo improved to 6-2 on the season.
Hendriks didn't start his spring training with Toronto, but was claimed by the Blue Jays when the Orioles signed free agent starter Ubaldo Jimenez. He was then slated to be the Herd's fifth starter, but the Bisons had two early-season rainouts and needed a spot for J.A. Happ to make his MLB injury rehabilitation start.
When he finally got his chance on Saturday, Hendriks dominated. He retired the first five batters he faced and the final 12 of his outing. A Garin Cecchini two-out single in the second inning was the only blemish on his line. Overall, Hendriks struck out four and walked none.
Having not pitched in nearly a week, Hendriks departed after 78 pitches and 53 strikes with the Herd holding a 3-0 advantage. Dan Butler's two-run home run in the eighth inning spoiled the shutout bid, but Chad Jenkins retired the side in order in the ninth on just 10 pitches for his first professional save.
The Bisons scored their three runs early to give Hendriks the support he needed. Steve Tolleson's two-out RBI-single in the third got the Herd on the scoreboard. Kevin Pillar tripled home Matt Tuiasosopo in the fourth before scoring on a Jared Goedert single.
Anthony Gose was held without a hit for the first time this season. He finished 0-3 with a walk…With his two scoreless relief outings, Liam Hendriks has now allowed just two hits in 9.2 scoreless innings to begin the season…Saturday's game lasted just two hours and 21 minutes.