They say hitting is contagious. In this case, so was good fielding.
The Buffalo Bisons used a combination of hitting and dazzling defense to hand Syracuse a 5-4 loss and extend their winning streak to a season-best six games.
Though the Herd had just six hits on the evening, all were extra base hits: three doubles, two home runs and one triple.
The Bisons jumped on Chief stater Tommy Milone in the second inning as second baseman Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. and third baseman Gift Ngoepe (three RBI) both hit two-run home runs to give the Herd a 4-1 lead.
Making the most of their chances in that inning proved key as Milone would sit down the next 15 batters he faced in order.
“He threw a good game. He really did and he never let up,” Bison manager Bobby Meacham said. “We let up a little. I thought we stayed aggressive early and chased some pitches. When he made a few mistakes we were ready to hit him. I thought we let up a little bit. We lost our aggressiveness because we started to swing at a few more bad pitches of his then he got the upper hand on us. He threw a really good game. I’m just glad we were able to get to him early.”
Though he gave up five earned runs on six hits, Milone struck out nine and didn’t issue any walks over his eight innings of work.
Ngoepe’s triple in the seventh would plate Reese McGuire (double) with the game winning run.
“We’ve been playing well as a team. We’re on a six game winning streak,” Ngoepe said. “It was just positive vibes in the dugout and just being ready to hit as a team.”
But it was Gurriel and Urena who would put on the show as they both flashes the leather making huge defensive plays.
Urena prevented a breakout inning by the Chiefs in the third when he made a diving stab at a ground ball with bases loaded. Urena wasn’t able to get an out, but his extra effort kept the ball in the infield and held Syracuse to just one run.
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Gurriel, meanwhile, was a one-man web gem. His best play came in the sixth when he ranged to his right, scooped up a hard hit grounder behind second base at the edge of the outfield grass and fired a throw that got Jose Marmolejos at first base.
“That only happens when you’ve got really talented players,” Meacham said. “Those big plays are because guys are talented. People have been saying all along how much talent we have in that room it’s starting to come out more and more. Whether its offense, defense. We ran the bases well again tonight like we did the day before. They’re capable of some big things and we saw some.”
The Chiefs would score two runs in the eighth, but Jordan Shafer would shut them down with a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save of the year. Conor Fisk improved to 2-0.
Danny Jansen and Jason Leblebejian also hit doubles for the Herd.
The series continues Wednesday night with a 6:05 start and wraps up Thursday with a 1:05 first-pitch.
Featured Photo Courtesy of the Buffalo Bisons