The Buffalo Bisons kept their chances at a Thruway Cup alive with a 4-3 victory over the Rochester Red Wings at Coca-Cola Field on Wednesday.
In his third start with the Herd, Mike Bolsinger worked quickly as he continued to stretch himself out. The 28-year-old Texan used 82 pitches, 21 more than his last start, to work his way through six innings.
“The past month and half has been really interesting. When I arrived here and made my first start in Pawtucket, I hadn’t pitched in two and a half weeks. Going from starting to relieving and back to starting, it’s been a weird little route that I’ve taken,” said Bolsinger after his first win as a Bison.
“It’s been crazy and I’ve never experienced anything like it before. I think now I’m getting back into the groove of things.”
Bolsinger struck out a handful while spreading out seven hits and a walk, keeping the Wings at bay on a trio of runs.
Having seen Andrew Albers for the third time in as many months, Buffalo’s bats got to Rochester’s starter for all four runs on 11 hits – all singles – over six innings.
Down 1-0 in the third, Casey Kotchman led off the frame by poking a single into right field with just one hand on the bat. Erik Kratz then floated a base hit over short and both runners advanced on Jio Mier’s sac bunt.
Dalton Pompey tied the game with an infield single to the hole at shortstop. Andy Burns then cashed in Kratz, keeping the ball up the middle while hitting into a fielder’s choice.
“We made all our hits count today,” remarked manager Gary Allenson on the seeing-eye singles.
“We’ll take ’em.”
After Adam Walker retook the lead for the Red Wings with a two-run homer in the fourth, the Bisons answered with another pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning.
Jesus Montero sent a laser into center field for a single. Chris Colabello and Domonic Brown sent a base hit each into right, loading the bases for Kotchman.
The first baseman then blooped a ball just over Wilfredo Tovar at short to bump up each runner a bag. Kratz followed up by grounding into a double play as Colabello crossed home for the 4-3 lead.
The one-run advantage held as Matt Dermody threw a scoreless seventh before making way for Danny Barnes.
Barnes went the rest of the way as he punched out four of six batters, including all three in the ninth inning, to earn his fourth save of the season.
Buffalo is now 8-9 against Rochester this season and needs to win out in order to take the 2016 Thruway Cup. The two teams will tango twice more over the next two days, with a pair of 7:05 p.m. first pitches at Frontier Field.