Dwight Smith Jr had a three RBI day, but the Bisons rally fell short as Charlotte handed the Herd a 4-3 loss in their series finale’ Sunday afternoon.
The Bisons has been riding a hot streak over the last three weeks as they entered Sunday’s game in first place of the International League North Division. The Bisons have been especially hot since May 16th going 14-5. They went 18-9 overall in the month of May. Their best May since 2005. The last time they made the post season.
Much of that recent success was attributed to clutch hitting and solid defense.
This time, however, the Bisons couldn’t quite get either when it was needed most.
The Knights cashed in on an error as they took a 3-0 lead in the second inning.
A big part of the Knights success was their line-up was tough at the plate, especially in the first two innings against Bison starter Sean Reid-Foley. They were patient. Worked deep into counts and forced into throwing 63 pitches in just two innings of work.
“They have veteran guys in there that are trying to select the pitches that they want to hit,” Bisons manager Bobby Meacham said. “They did a good job doing that. I thought they battled real well against Reid-Foley. Made him work. Like you said, took him deep in the counts every time. That’s what good, veteran players do and that’s what we were up against today.”
Dwight Smith Jr’s two-run single in the second cut the Knights lead to one. Smith Jr., who just returned from Toronto on Saturday, drove in Gift Ngoepe for the second time in the game to tie the score at 3-3 in the seventh.
“I was just trying to put good at-bats together,” Smith Jr. said.
Casey Gillaspie knocked in Jacob May in the ninth for the winning run.
Nick Tepesch was outstanding in relief for the Bisons. Tepesch came on in the third and shut the Knights offense down for five innings.
“He did a great job. Reminded you of last year,” Meacham said. “He came in and did that job for us last year when we got him. Did another good job today I thought, because of him, we were gonna win that (game).”
Carlos Rodon struck out eight, gave up two earned runs on six hits and two walks. Rodon threw 55 of his 92 pitches for strikes as he went five innings in what is expected to be his last rehab assignment before rejoining the White Sox next week.
Rodon has been on DL since having shoulder surgery last October.
Monday will be the Herd’s first scheduled day off since May 17. Normally, the end of a series on a Sunday is referred to as get away day. Meaning both teams are departing for their next city immediately after the game. Monday off gives the Bisons a breather before they head off on the longest road trip of the season. Three different cities (Toledo, Columbus, Lehigh Valley) over nine days.
“Yeah it’s good timing,” Meacham said. “We’ve been playing well, but we’ve got a couple guys banged up. We’ve got a long road trip. Bunch of games in a row in three cities so this day off comes at a great time.”
The loss combined with a Lehigh Valley win drops the Bisons into a second place tie with Rochester. With both teams a half-game behind Lehigh Valley.
Randal Grichuk (rehab) returned to Toronto.
LHP Sam Moll and IF Richard Urena were both places on the DL.
Feature Pic Courtesy of the Buffalo Bisons