Bisons End Ten-Game Skid, Break Chiefs’ Winning Streak
Published on June 25, 2017
Story by Aubrie Tolliver
Photos by Jacqueline Mundry
SYRACUSE, N.Y. —
They say baseball is a game of streaks.
The Syracuse Chiefs were three outs away from a five-game winning streak.
The Buffalo Bisons were three outs away from an 11-game losing streak, the worst in the team’s modern era.
Both streaks were snapped, as the Bisons scored three times in the top of the ninth to beat the Chiefs 7-5 Sunday afternoon at NBT Bank Stadium.
Four-straight hits for the Bisons gave the team the late lead, which it kept. Buffalo’s record improves to 35-40 on the season. The Chiefs’ record dropped to 26-47.
Too many pitches
Chiefs’ starter A.J. Cole struggled to settle in, throwing 28 pitches in the first inning, giving up two walks and a hit. He got through the jam unscathed by striking out a couple of Bisons for the first and third outs.
Buffalo, however, got to Cole in the following two innings.
In the second, the team plated two runs on two Chiefs’ errors. And the next inning, three-straight singles brought home another two. It was 4-0 Bisons after three.
But, the Syracuse bats continued to be trouble for the Bison pitching staff. In the bottom of the third, Andrew Stevenson blasted his first homer of the year over the right-field fence, which ignited the rest of the offense.
A single and hit-by-pitch set the table for Jhonatan Solano, who pulled the ball down the left-field line for a double—his first hit since June 18. The Chiefs inched closer, 4-3.
The comeback was complete the next inning when Caleb Ramsey scored on a Stevenson single through the right side. Stevenson was 3-3 at that point in the game.
Bisons turn the tables
Irving Falu gave his team the lead in the fifth by legging out a triple, which scored Alejandro De Aza—another timely hit. The score remained 5-4 in favor of the Chiefs until the Bisons decided to get some clutch hits of their own.
Single, single, double, single is how it happened. Chiefs’ reliever Wander Suero gave up four-consecutive hits in the top of the ninth, which brought home three runs. After that, Rafael Martin stepped onto the mound and got the inning-ending double play.
But, the damage was done. A near-perfect inning by closer Chris Smith gave the Bisons the 7-5 victory.
In an interview back in early May, Chiefs manager Billy Gardner said the team was lacking those clutch hits, which he said led to a losing skid.
“We’ve got to get a few of our guys that we thought would hit to start cooking a little bit,” Gardner said on May 2.
This series, the Chiefs had two walk-off wins from two different players. Robinson hit .533 this series—despite going 0-4 Sunday at the plate. And, Stevenson finished 3-5 on Sunday.
One would have to imagine that is what Gardner meant “cooking”.
“This past stretch has been pretty fun,” said Stevenson in a post-game interview. “We’re just getting timely hits and the pitching has been great. If you can get both of those things that normally equals a win.”
The Chiefs are looking to keep offense and pitching alive, as they are set to begin a four-game series against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Monday night at NBT Bank Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.