The Bisons were one out away from a series sweep of the IronPigs and coming within a game and half of wild-card-leading Pawtucket.
That was until Maikel Franco launched a 3-1 pitch over the fence in left field.
Franco hit a walkoff two-run homer, off Bisons closer Bobby Korecky, to defeat the Bisons, 3-2, at Coca-Cola Park on Sunday night. The Bisons cruised through the first eight innings on Saturday and took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth.
Korecky gave up a leadoff, infield single to Nate Spears and catcher George Kottaras was charged with a throwing error that advanced Spears to second base. Korecky then stuck out Tony Gwynn Jr. and then induced a ground out. Freddy Galvis kept the inning alive with an RBI single to make it 2-1, before Franco hit the walkoff homer.
To make the loss sting a little more, Pawtucket led Scranton, 5-1, heading into the ninth inning but Scanton rallied with five runs in the ninth to sink Pawtucket, 6-5. With a win on Sunday, the Herd could have trailed Pawtucket by a game and half in the IL wild card race. Instead, the Bisons are 2.5 games out.
The loss spoiled another outstanding start by Kendall Graveman. Graveman made his fourth start with the Bisons on Sunday and was terrific once again. The 23-year-old right-hander allowed just four hits in his seven inning shutout. He struck out four and walked none. Two of the hits that Graveman gave up were infield hits -- including a bunt single.
Graveman was helped by two double plays and worked very economically -- throwing just 83 pitches, 60 for strikes. Dating back to Graveman's start against Norfolk, he has pitched 14-straight scoreless innings. Since being promoted to Triple-A, Graveman has allowed just three earned runs in 26 innings (1.04 ERA).
The Herd's only offense came in the middle innings. In the fourth, Cole Gillispie's RBI single to score Ryan Goins gave the Bisons a 1-0 lead and then, in the fifth, Darin Mastroianni gave the Herd an insurance run with an RBI single to plate George Kottaras.
The Bisons took two out of three from Lehigh Valley in the weekend series and now will head back to Buffalo for an eight-game homestand. The Bisons are off off on Monday, before Rochester comes to town on Tuesday for the start of a short, two-game series. Sean Nolan (4-4, 2.89 ERA) will start on Tuesday for the Bisons against Rochester's Mark Hamburger (3-2, 4.15 ERA). The homestand includes a four-game series wild-card-leading Pawtucket.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.