On the four-year anniversary of one of the best pitching performances in Coca-Cola Field history, Marcus Stroman provided an encore performance that was pretty darn close to matching it.
The 22-year old righty struck out 10 batters over six no-hit innings that could only be described as complete domination. And while the Bats broke up the no-no with the first batter after Stroman existed on a pitch count, the Herd still completed the 4-1 win over Louisville.
Stroman retired 16 straight batters on Tuesday, 11 shy of the ballpark record set four years ago to the day by Blue Jays ace, R.A. Dickey. But while the knuckleballer allowed a first-batter single in his 4-0 complete game win over Durham in 2010, Stroman and his Bisons teammates had visions of history on this night.
Stroman struck out the first batter of the game, something he has done in each of his first five Triple-A starts. He then fanned Skip Schumaker before issuing a two-out walk to Ruben Gotay for the lone blemish on his line. Chris Nelson followed up with a ground out to end the only thing that could be even considered a threat to the righty.
The next five innings were nothing short of perfection. Stroman struck out two in the second inning and fanned Felix Perez, Thomas Neal and Mike Wilson in a 13-pitch fifth inning. With an 80-pitch count planned, the righty was told by the Bisons staff he had just 12 pitches to work with in the sixth. So, Stroman got two ground outs before K-ing Hernan Iribarren…using exactly a dozen pitches.
Corner outfielders Kevin Pillar and Darin Mastroianni could've taken the night off as Stroman allowed just one ball to be hit into the outfield -a lazy fly to center in the third inning from Kristopher Negron. The pitcher even made an impressive no-look behind the back grab of a comebacker in the fourth inning.
Stroman exited after the sixth and the Bats showed their immediate relief. Jason Bourgeois doubled off reliever Austin Bibens-Dirkx to break up the no-hit bid on the third pitch of the seventh inning. Louisville scored a run in the frame to cut into the Bisons lead, but Bobby Korecky and Neil Wagner slammed the door shut in the eighth and ninth innings.
Buffalo scored two runs in the second inning after getting new life in the frame. Matt Tuiasosopo hit a tailor-made doubleplay ball, but the umpire ruled that Gotay wasn't touching second base when he received the throw from short. Steve Tolleson and Erik Kratz followed with RBI singles to give Buffalo a 2-0 lead.
Darin Mastroianni doubled and scored in the third inning when Perez dropped Kevin Pillar's fly ball to right field. Pillar doubled and came around in the eighth inning, extending his hit streak to 12 games.
Ryan Goins made his 2014 Bisons debut and went 0-3 with a walk. He was optioned to the Herd by the Blue Jays on Monday night…The Blue Jays selected the contract of Bisons infielder Chris Getz and released Herd reliever, Mickey Storey…Neil Wagner is now 19-19 in save chances in his Bisons career.