Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — BUFFALO — The Buffalo Bisons opened their three-game home set against the Syracuse Chiefs from a different perspective.
Below .500 for the first time this season following a 3-2 loss to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday, the Herd stumbled further down the International League North standings Saturday, falling 4-3 to the rival Chiefs at Coca-Cola Field.
Buffalo has been hovering around the 50/50 mark — one win here, another loss there — for the past month or so. After starting the season 24-15, the Herd have gone 19-30 since May 16, the last time they held down the division’s top spot.
Now, it seems, they’re a shell of that first-place team of April and May. As the Bisons sit nine games back of division-leading Pawtucket, manager Marty Brown said it’s going to be about consistency, getting everyone healthy and on the same page.
“Everything’s a matter of consistency at this level. The bottom line is you’ve got to come to the ballpark every day and play every day,” Brown said. “... Our biggest problem right now is getting guys on base early and making things happen.”
The Bisons had trouble making things happen early once again and Syracuse jumped out to a 4-0 lead after five innings.
That trend continued until the Herd’s final at-bats. Three outs from being shut out for the sixth time in their last 32 games, Andy LaRoche belted a two-run homerun over the far right field fence to make it 4-2.
And when Syracuse’s Kris Davis replaced Cole Kimball after the homer, a walk and a single set the table for a tense finish when Mike McCoy singled to bring the Herd within a run before Davis struck out Ryan Goins to end the game.
The Bisons bats struggled for the majority of the game against Syracuse starter Ryan Tatusko, whose seven innings of work equaled his longest outing of the year.