Louisville, KY - After playing 29 innings over the past two nights, Justin Lehr threw eight innings to give a depleted Louisville bullpen some well-deserved rest. Lehr and the Bats were able to score in five consecutive innings, defeating the Buffalo Bisons 5-1. On a pleasant Monday evening at Louisville Slugger Field, 7,661 fans cheered the home team to victory.
Bats' starter Lehr retired 10 straight batters at one point to pick up his seventh victory in eight decisions for Louisviile. Lehr allowed only a single run, while striking out four batters.
The Bisons scored first in the top of the third. Kentucky-native and former Bat Andy Green led off the inning with a walk. Two outs later, Jesus Feliciano singled to move Green from first to third. Chip Ambres followed with an RBI-double down the left field line, scoring Green to give the Bisons a 1-0 advantage.
Lehr was able to help himself out, leading off the bottom-half of the third with a single up the middle. Drew Stubbs then walked to give the Bats runners on first and second, with no outs. After Alex Gonzalez bounced into a twin-killing, erasing Stubbs and himself, Chris Heisey was able to drive in Lehr with an infield single. With Lehr on third base, Heisey hit a dribbler down the third-base line. Bisons' starter Lance Broadway fielded the ball off-balance and threw wide to catcher Robinson Cancel. Lehr scored and Heisey advanced to second on the errant throw. However, he was stranded there; leaving the score tied 1-1.
Chris Valaika broke the stalemate in the fourth inning, launching his fifth home run of the year. The 380-foot bomb to the left field stands gave the Bats a 2-1 lead.
The Bats added another run in the fifth, their third consecutive inning with a run. Stubbs nearly got all of a pitch from Broadway, roping a line-drive double to the gap in left-center field that one-hopped the wall. A ground out by Gonzalez moved Stubbs to third and set the stage for Kevin Barker. Barker hit a shallow fly ball to left field, but Bisons' left fielder Nick Evans didn't challenge Stubbs at the plate, allowing him to score to extend the Bats' lead 3-1.
In his first game back with the Bats, catcher Brian Peterson pitched in with a run of his own in the sixth inning. Peterson started the inning by hitting a ground ball to third base. Javier Castillo had the ball tip off his glove, allowing Peterson to reach first. Lehr executed a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Peterson to second. After moving to third on a ground out by Stubbs, Peterson scored on a run-producing single off the bat off Gonzalez.
Gonzalez, who is on a Major League rehab, left the game in the top of the eighth inning and finished 1-for-4 for the Bats.
Darnell McDonald gave the game its' final tally of 5-1 in the bottom of the seventh. McDonald launched a 357-foot home run to left field off of Bisons' reliever Eddie Kunz.
Bats' reliever Robert Manuel pitched a scoreless ninth to guarantee the win.
The Bats and the Bisons will play the second game of a four-game set tomorrow night at Louisville Slugger Field. Probable starters for the match-up are LHP Matt Maloney (6-6, 2.50) for the Bats against RHP Tobi Stoner (2-3, 4.98) for the Bisons. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.