The Bisons showed all around team effort Saturday night at Coca-Cola Park when they took down the Lehigh Valley IronPigs 5-0 on Saturday night to inch closer to a postseason birth.
With the win Buffalo gained ground in the IL North division. The Herd climbed to 2.5 games behind Pawtucket after the Red Sox fell to Indianapolis on Saturday night and now just trail the Chiefs by 3.5 games for the division lead.
It was just an all around great effort by the Herd. A solid outing by Scott Copeland along with stellar defensive play mixed together with a four-run inning turned out to be the perfect formula needed to get the win Saturday night.
Buffalo took over in the seventh. In a defensive contest where both teams combined for just seven hits through the first six, Buffalo poured it on with a four-run inning to finally get some scoring action going.
Kevin Pillar showed his aggressiveness when he stole third with no one out to set runners up at the corners with Dan Johnson at the plate. A sacrifice fly by Johnson scored Pillar to break the zeros in the scoring column.
After Goins singled to center to set runners up later in the inning, George Kottaras showed shades of 2008 when he had 22 homers. Kottaras crushed a three-run homer to extend Buffalo's lead to 4-0.
Buffalo was helped out throughout the game with some great defense as well. Pillar helped prevent Lehigh Valley to strike first after a diving catch in left field saved a run and ended the third inning threat. Darin Mastroianni showed Russ Canzler not to test him when he has the ball in center. Canzler tried scoring from second but a powerful throw by Mastroianni kept the game scoreless in the fifth.
The great defense helped Scott Copeland continue his shutout streak in his second Triple-A outing. After a seven-inning shutout debut, the righty extended his streak to 14 innings without allowing a run with another seven-shutout frames on Saturday. Copeland finished the outing allowing just four hits and fanned six.
Colt Hynes relieved Copeland and pitched a one-two-three eighth inning for an impressive Herd debut. Steve Delabar finished off the IronPigs with a scoreless ninth.
The Herd resumes its two-game series at Coca-Cola Park against Lehigh Valley tomorrow when Kendall Graveman will face up against Jeff Manship with first pitch at 5:35 pm.
The Bisons are 12-3 against Lehigh Valley. They haven't won 12 games against a single team since 2002 when they posted a 13-3 record against Syracuse. Toronto recalled Bisons RHP Kyle Drabek and assigned Dan Johnson to the Herd on an MLB injury rehab assignment. Johnson went 0-3 with an RBI in the seventh. Johnson leads the Herd with 17 homers and 79 walks. A day after Kevin Pillar's hitting streak ended at 21 games, the outfielder exploded for an impactful day on Saturday. Pillar went three for four with a double and scored a run in the seventh.