It was a good old-fashioned pitcher's duel through the first five innings at Sahlen Field Tuesday evening before the Stripers exploded for a big victory over the Bisons.
Gwinnett scored nine runs in a seventh inning where they sent 13 men to the plate, to break a 2-2 tie and win the first game of a three-game set in Buffalo, 11-3. Austin Riley's grand slam was the biggest blow in the rally that included five hits and two Bisons field errors.
Prior to the seventh, Gwinnett's Kyle Wright and Buffalo's Andrew Sopko were making quick work of the hitters on each team. Wright allowed just one base runner for the first four innings while Sopko, in his Bisons debut, allowed just two hits in his first five innings of work.
The Bisons finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom half of the fifth. Following Reese McGuire's single to right with two outs, Andy Burns drove him home with an RBI triple to the right-field corner.
Video: Andy Burns hits an RBI triple
The Bisons then used a little bit of speed to add their second run off the inning following a Roemon Fields walk. As Fields took off for second base, Burns broke home, successfully pulling off the double-steal. The Bisons accomplished the feat four times during the 2018 season, with the last occurring on July 20th vs Durham with Rowdy Tellez stealing second and Jonathan Davis crossing the plate.
Video: Andy Burns steals home on the play
Gwinnett answered quickly with two runs of their own in the top of the sixth frame, both unearned because of a pair of Bisons errors. The Stripers then put the game out of reach with the nine-seventh.
Wright picked up the win for Gwinnett tossing six innings. The Vanderbilt product fanned a season-high six Bison hitters, with the only runs coming in the fifth inning.
Sopko picked up a no-decision in his Triple-A debut. The right hander went 5.2 innings yielding just three hits, two runs (no earned), two walks and four strikeouts.
Sopko, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers along with shortstop Ronny Brito for catcher Russell Martin in January, had gone 2-2 with a 2.34 ERA in 6 starts with Double-A New Hampshire before his promotion.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.