By Mike Meiler
Niagara Gazette — BUFFALO — Two games into a three-game set against the Buffalo Bisons, only the rain has been able to slow the Syracuse Chiefs’ bats.
A night after beating Buffalo 8-1, the Chiefs used a six-run fourth inning to beat the Bisons 7-2 in a rain-shortened, five-inning game Tuesday night at Coca-Cola Field.
Buffalo starter Justin Germano (1-1) made only one mistake through his first three innings, hanging a curveball to Syracuse first basemen Chris Marrero, who crushed the ball over the screen in left field for his first home run of the season.
The wheels fell off in the fourth, though. Syracuse third basemen Will Rhymes and left fielder Corey Brown led off with back-to-back singles, and both scored on a Marrero rocket that made its way over a leaping Anthony Gose in centerfield for a triple.
Shortstop Zach Walters followed with a weak ground ball to Buffalo third basemen Andy LaRoche, who caught Marrero in a rundown. With Marrero caught in no-man’s land, Walters made his way around the bases, and when LaRoche’s throw missed catcher Josh Thole at the plate, both Marrero and Walters scored. Designated hitter Micah Owings then singled, and right fielder Mike Costanzo hit a line-drive home run to right field to cap the scoring.
“The second time through the order, (Germano) elevated the ball. If you leave something over the plate and out in the zone, they’ve proven they’re willing to swing the bat,” Bisons manager Marty Brown said. “He went back out to his credit in the fifth to try and work on some things and try to take that into the next outing.”
Both of Buffalo’s runs came in the first inning. Buffalo native Jim Negrych led off with a single to center and took second when Syracuse pitcher Ross Ohlendorf (2-0) sailed his pick-off attempt. Gose followed with an RBI triple that appeared to get trapped on the bottom of the right field wall, and Moises Sierra scored Gose on a ground ball up the middle.
The grounds crew was called to put the tarp over the field after Buffalo designated hitter Luis Jimenez struck out to end the bottom of the fifth. Ohlendorf finished allowing five hits and two earned runs while striking out three and issuing two walks. Germano struck out five and allowed no free passes, but gave up 11 hits and all seven runs (six earned).
Negrych led the Buffalo offense, going 2 for 2 with a double and a walk. Sierra was the only other Bison with multiple hits.
The Bisons (3-3) host Syracuse (5-1) in the final game of the series at 1:05 p.m. today.
NOTES: Newly-acquired Mauro Gomez, the former International League MVP claimed off waivers from the Boston Red Sox, started at first base for the Bisons. ... Negrych’s run in the bottom of the first was the first given up this season by Ohlendorf, who’s best known as the key cog in the New York Yankees’ trade of Randy Johnson to Arizona. ... Syracuse’s Eury Perez reached on an infield single in the fourth to extend his IL-best hit streak to 23 games.