Buffalo’s offense went stagnant as the Bisons lost their second consecutive game to Columbus, 3-2 in the second of a four-game series at Coca-Cola Field. Buffalo has now lost three consecutive games, dating back to before the All-Star break. Buffalo has now averaged four hits and 1.5 runs in its two games since the break.
“He’s getting a little frustrated now, more than anything about the record,” said manager Gary Allenson. “He’s got to put that behind him and go out there and pitch. There’s some big league pitchers that lost 18-20 games and were pretty good pitchers because his team didn’t score him any runs.”
Norris pitched a quality start, but took his team-high 10th loss of the season. Norris allowed three runs on four hits over six innings, but a snafu in the fifth inning was the difference maker.
In the fifth frame, Jesus Aguilar drove a fastball to deep right-centerfield and picked up two RBI to give Columbus the lead. The ball was hit past the extended glove of Dalton Pompey as he chased the ball down to the right-centerfield wall. The two-run double gave the Clippers a slim lead, but it was enough to lead for the remainder of the game.
“One of the top RBI guys in the league burned [Norris] for a two-run double,” Allenson said. “His pitch selection could have been better there. A breaking ball would’ve been better there.”
All in all, Norris pitched admirably, even retiring the minimum amount of batters in three separate innings (1st, 2nd and 6th innings). Not only did Norris showcase his arm, but he dazzled with his glove as well. Norris made two impressive plays on hard-hit comebackers in the first and third innings.
In the third inning, Norris fielded a hard-hit one-bouncer hit towards his torso, and recorded the out with a runner in scoring position. Norris then forced an inning-ending groundout to exit the inning unscathed.
As well as Norris pitched, the offense continued its subpar performance during his starts. Buffalo only put up two runs on six hits, underperforming the season average of 3.2 during Norris’ starts.
The Herd’s only scoring production was due to an error. The Bisons caught a break in the second inning after Zach Walters misplayed a deep ball hit towards the left field fence. The ball did not leave the yard, but the error allowed Caleb Gindl and Munenori Kawasaki to score on the play.
Buffalo threatened multiple times throughout the night, most notably in the sixth inning. Jonathan Diaz hit a soft pop-up towards right field, but Tyler Holt made a tremendous diving catch to end the inning. Andy Burns would have scored the tying run on the play.
“We couldn’t take advantage,” Allenson said. “We didn’t have many opportunities, but the opportunities we had, we didn’t get one in there.”
The Bisons will continue their home stand tomorrow in the third game of a four-game series against the Clippers. Buffalo will follow up the current series with another four-game series against Syracuse. Saturday’s game will begin at 6:05 p.m.
Bisons Bits: Dalton Pompey went 1-for-4 in his return to Buffalo after spending over a month with Double-A New Hampshire … Matt Hague went 2-for-4 and extended his league-leading average to .349. He is now eligible for the IL batting title.