Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Justin Germano shut down the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders for eight innings and the Buffalo Bisons escaped an eventful ninth to hold on for a 6-2 road win Saturday night.
Germano (8-8) was masterful, striking out eight, walking none and giving up five hits through eight. He was perfect through three innings before getting touched for his first two hits — and only run — on back-to-back doubles from Melky Mesa and J.R. Murphy.
He didn’t allow two baserunners to reach at the same time until the eighth, when Mesa knocked a two-out single with Alberto Gonzalez already aboard. Buffalo manager Marty Brown visited Germano on the mound, but chose to leave his starter in. The decision paid off, and Germano got Murphy to fly out to right fielder Moises Sierra.
The Bisons (62-58) opened the scoring in the third after Scranton/WB starter Jim Miller was pulled from the game. Miller, a reliever making a spot start, struck out three and walked one in two hitless innings before being relieved by Mark Montgomery (2-3).
Montgomery walked Mike McCoy to start the frame, and McCoy proceeded to swipe second. Kevin Pillar hit a sharp one-out line drive to left for a single, then advanced to second on the throw home, which halted McCoy at third. Ricardo Nanita grounded out to short, scoring McCoy and moving Pillar to third.
With two outs, Sierra pushed the first offering from Montgomery over the right field wall for his ninth home run of the season and third in four games.
Buffalo tacked on single runs in the fifth, seventh and ninth to push the lead to 6-1.
Nanita doubled with two outs in the fifth to score Anthony Gose, who doubled earlier in the inning off Scranton/WB’s Yoshinori Tateyama. McCoy earned another leadoff walk in the seventh, again swiped second, then moved to third and scored on back-to-back singles from Gose and Pillar. Sean Ochinko led off the ninth with a walk, then was called out on a fielder’s choice hit into by McCoy. With two outs, Pillar roped a double to left, scoring the speedy McCoy from first.
Buffalo’s Buddy Carlyle almost pitched the Herd into trouble in the bottom of the ninth after taking over for Germano. Carlyle gave up a double to leadoff hitter Adonis Garcia, then walked Dan Johnson and Randy Ruiz in back-to-back seven-pitch at-bats. After a visit from Brown, Carlyle walked Ronnier Mustelier on a full count, scoring Garcia and ending his night.
Brown called for Jeremy Jeffress, who induced a grounder from Brent Lillibridge to first baseman Andy LaRoche, who hit Ochinko at home for the force out. Jeffress then struck out Alberto Gonzalez and Addison Maruszak to secure his first save of the season and Brown’s 300th career win.
The win put moves the Bisons three games back of Rochester (66-56) in the North Division and a half-game back of Norfolk (63-58) for the wild card with 24 games remaining. Rochester and Norfolk were tied at 2 in the bottom of the 12th as of our deadline.
The Bisons finish a two-game series at Scranton/WB (58-64) with a 1:05 p.m. start today.