Niagara Gazette — BUFFALO — The Buffalo bats showed early signs of rust after the three-day All-Star break, and it cost the Bisons in a 4-2 loss to the Toledo Mud Hens on Thursday at Coca-Cola Field.
The Bisons were shut down for six innings, and some early wild pitching allowed the Mud Hens to jump to a 4-0 lead after three innings.
With two outs in the top of the first, Buffalo starter Thad Weber (3-4) worked himself into trouble, walking Avisail Garcia, giving up a single to Nick Castellanos and walking Ben Guez on four pitches to load the bases. With a chance to escape unharmed, third baseman Mike McCoy couldn’t come up with Mike Cervenak’s grounder, allowing Garcia to score on the error.
Weber walked Danny Worth to lead off the third, setting the table for a big Toledo inning. Garcia doubled to right, scoring Worth, and moved to third when Castellanos pushed a grounder through the middle. Guez lined the next pitch up the middle for a single, scoring Garcia.
Castellanos advanced to third when Cervenak grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, then scored on a wild pitch.
Weber got into trouble again in the fourth, loading the bases with one out. But fortune turned in his favor when Castellanos hit a sharp line drive to shortstop Ryan Goins, who picked it out of the air and flipped it to second baseman Munenori Kawasaki for the inning-ending double play.
Meanwhile, Toledo starter Kyle Lobstein (2-1) blew through the Bisons for the first six innings, giving up just three hits and striking out four.
The Herd got the bats going in the seventh, led by Jim Negrych and Mauro Gomez, who played in the AAA All-Star Game on Wednesday night in Reno, Nev. and flew back to Buffalo early this morning.
Negrych led off with a single and Gomez doubled, sending him to third. Sean Ochinko lined to left for a single, scoring Negrych and ending Lobstein’s day.
Toledo reliever Jose Ortega came on and whiffed Eugenio Velez and Anthony Gose, but threw a wild pitch that allowed Gomez to score.
Jose Valverde, who closed games for the Detroit Tigers earlier this year, came on for the bottom of the ninth and allowed two runner before earning his third AAA save. Ochinko grounded out the start the inning, but Velez reached on an error and Gose singled to left. But Valverde won an eight-pitch battle with Kawasaki, striking him out, and Gose was gunned out at second during a double steal to end the game.
NOTES: Four Buffalo relievers (Buddy Carlyle, Sergio Santos, Jeremy Jeffress and Brad Lincoln) combined to toss four shutout innings, giving up two hits while striking out six. ... Melky Cabrera, the outfielder for the Toronto Blue Jays who joined the Bisons on a rehab assignment Thursday, did not play. He’s expected to start sometime this weekend.