Daisuke Matsuzaka was the star attraction on Thursday afternoon in downtown Buffalo, but Fernando Martinez and the comeback Bisons stole the spotlight.
Martinez sent the Herd to their first walk-off victory of the season when he drove home Alex Cintron in the bottom of the 10th inning of a 3-2 win over the Pawtucket Red Sox.
Matsuzaka was making his second rehab start of the season for the Sox Triple-A affiliate, this time against the Bisons. He was solid through six shutout innings, giving up just three hits and striking out two with no walks.
Like in the Home Opener on Wednesday, the Red Sox took an early lead in the top of the second inning. Aaron Bates got the Sox offense going with a one out ground-rule double to right-center field. He scored two batters later on an RBI single off the bat of Angel Sanchez.
Pawtucket added a run to its lead in the fifth on a leadoff homer by Darnell McDonald, his second long ball of the season and his team-leading seventh RBI.
But also like a day earlier, the Herd offense would scrap and fight their way back. All it took was a mix of the exit of Dice-K and the power of Mike Hessman. A leadoff single by Ike Davis in the seventh inning set the stage for the right-handed slugger. Behind in the count 1-2, Hessman smacked a two-run bomb to right-center field off reliever Dustin Richardson for his International League leading fourth home run of the year.
The score remained tied at two until the 10th. Cintron hit the first pitch from former Bison Chad Paronto up the middle for a single. Ruben Tejada laid down the sacrifice and Josh Thole drew the two-out walk to keep the inning alive. Martinez then drove one off the glove of PawSox first baseman Jorge Jimenez. The ball trickled into right field while Cintron raced home for the game-winning run.
The win went to Elmer Dessens (2-0), who tossed two shutout innings. Manny Acosta and Michael O'Connor also threw shutout relief of Pat Misch, who allowed two runs in 4.2 innings of work.
BISONS NOTES: Russ Adams left the game in the top of the third inning after a hard tack-out slide at second base by Tug Hulett. He has a left knee contusion and is day-to-day...Ike Davis went 1-3 with a walk and has now reached base twice in all but one game this year...Mike Hessman now has 315 career minor league home runs.-the herd-
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.