Bisons Rout Chiefs, 9-3 in Series Opener
Published on May 9, 2017
Story By Robert Schiff
Photos By Aubrie Tolliver
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – After a stretch that saw the Chiefs drop their last four games,scoring only six runs, Syracuse returned home for a three-game set on Monday against the Buffalo Bisons hoping for better results. Instead on a night so cold that fans, players and umpires were bundled up, the Chiefs lost their fifth in a row.
Despite a hot start for the home team, it was all Buffalo the rest of the way, as the Bisons defeated the Chiefs, 9-3, to take the series opener at NBT Bank Stadium. The the Chiefs (9-17), who now find themselves in last place, seven games behind Buffalo (17-11) in the International League North.
Out of Nowhere
With the recent departure of catcher Mike Ohlman, who was called up by the Blue Jays, Buffalo promoted Raffy Lopez from Double-A New Hampshire on Sunday, and the move paid dividends for the Bisons immediately.
Making just his second start of the season, Lopez made the most of his opportunity. With one on, and his team trailing by one in the top of the second inning, the newly promoted catcher crushed a two-run shot to right center field, putting Buffalo on top, 2-1.
In his next at-bat, this time with two runners on in the fifth, Lopez hit a towering fly ball that cleared the right field wall by more than 50 feet. His second home run of the game gave the Bisons a 5-1 lead after four innings of play. The 29 year-old catcher finished with five RBI on the night, going 2-for-4.
Buffalo tacked on two more runs in the fifth, extending its lead to six, and then two more in the ninth to complete the scoring.
About an hour before first pitch, Buffalo’s starting pitcher Casey Lawrence was scratched after being designated for assignment and relief pitcher
Murphy Smith took over as a last-minute replacement.
Smith found himself in some trouble in the first, but limited the damage to only one run, as he got both Clint Robinson and Pedro Severino to fly out with two runners in scoring position. Smith then retired the side in order in the second inning.
With two outs in the third, Smith found himself in another jam after giving up back-to-back hits to Matt Skole and Brandon Snyder, but again battled through, and got Robinson to pop up to the catcher, ending the threat for the Chiefs.
It was Robinson’s second-straight at-bat stranding two runners in scoring position. Leonel Campos took over and pitched the next two innings, giving up just one hit to collect his first win of the season.
Chad Girodo tossed four quality innings for the Bisons – his longest outing of the season – giving up four hits and two runs, and striking out four.
Signs of Life
After going just 5-for-34 in his last nine games, Chiefs left fielder Brandon Snyder had a breakout night, going 3-for-4, and driving in three runs. Snyder crushed his sixth homer of the season over the right field wall in the bottom of the 8th, cutting the Bisons’ lead to four at the time.
After getting roughed up in his last two appearances, longtime MLB closer Joe Nathan looked impressive for Syracuse, retiring the Bisons in order in the 8th inning.
What Lies Ahead
It’ll be a quick turnaround for the Chiefs, as they continue their three-game series with Buffalo at 1:05 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon. Austin Voth (1-3, 5.63) will be on the hill for Syracuse, taking on Jarrett Grube (2-2, 4.68).