On the third Tops Dog Day of the season, Thomas Pannone was clearly Buffalo's best friend.
In his first game with the Herd in over a month and just his second game all year with the Bisons, the southpaw set the tone early in his return with eight strikeouts in four innings of work, resulting in the Herd's 6-3 victory over the Indianapolis Indians.
While this wasn't a long enough outing to earn his first win as a Bison (Zach Jackson credited with the victory), the Rhode Island native retired the the first 11 atters he faced. Following a ground out by Indy's Cole Tucker to begin the game, Pannone struck out the next five batters in order through the second inning, culminating in a nine-pitch at-bat against Eric Wood when he caught him looking with a 92 mile-per-hour fastball.
Pannone kept things going when he sent the Indians down in order again in the next frame, including deflecting a ricocheted pitch off his glove from the bat of Christian Kelley and fired to Jordan Patterson at first base for the groundout. Pannone allowed his only hit of the night with two outs in the fourth inning when Kevin Kramer singled to right. Pannone did all of this on just 66 pitches (46 strikes).
Optioned by Toronto on Friday and just added to the roster on Tuesday, Pannone has 23 appearances with the Blue Jays this season.
Using the strong momentum from their starter, the Bisons offense jumped out of the gate scoring-wise in the first inning and once again used two-out situations to their advantage. Facing Eduardo Vera, Anthony Alford became the first base-runner of the night with a two-out double to left-field, his 13th of the season. Four pitches later, Jordan Patterson went yard for the two-run home run to right centerfield for the Herd's 2-0 lead. His team-high 8th home run of the season, Patterson is now at 25 RBI on the year.
Video: Jordan Patterson homers on a fly ball to right center
This continued over in the fourth inning. Following Jonathan Davis' double, Andy Burns provided some breathing room lwith a two-out RBI single to center to make it a 3-0 lead.
The Indians kept things close in the top of the fifth when Jason Martin and Cole Tucker had back-to-back RBI singles against reliever Taylor Saucedo to trim Buffalo's lead to 3-2 but the Herd provided some breathing room at the plate in the sixth inning.
After Davis' double to left with one out, Reese McGuire provided some action with a RBI single to right field, allowing him to score and ending Vera's night. With new reliever Dovydas Neverauskas in the game for the Indians, Bisons hitter Richard Urena provided the final dagger with a two-run home run to right field for the 6-2 lead. His third homer of the year, the second base man now has 22 RBI.
Video: Richard Urena homers on a fly ball to right field
The Indians had some momentum after JB Shuck earned a triple and crossed home on an infield error to cut the deficit to 6-3 in the seventh off Jackson. But Jackson recovered as he and Buddy Boshers did not allow a hit and only one walk through the last two innings of action combined.
His sixth victory of the season, Jackson finished the night with 2.1 innings in relief with 3 strikeouts while Boshers recorded his fourth save of the season.
BISONS NOTES: Anthony Alford went 3-4 with a double and a stolen base. Dating back to June 9 against Lehigh Valley, he is now on a nine-game hitting streak and has batted 17 of 36 (.472) in that span… Tonight was Patterson's first home run since his two-homer night at Louisville on June 16… Tonight was Pannone's first Triple-A appearance with Buffalo since May 18 against Louisville… Not only did he tie his own personal best that he set in July 2018 against Lehigh Valley, Pannone's 8-strikeout performance tied the new team-high set by Sean Reid-Foley Tuesday against the Indians… Buffalo has now won 6 of their last 8 games dating back June 11 and have won four of their last five meetings against the Indians… The Herd wraps up the mid-week series Thursday afternoon at Sahen Field for a 1:05 p.m. matinee.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.