Niagara Gazette — BUFFALO — While the night ended in a patriotic display of fireworks, the Buffalo Bisons' performance on the field was a disappointing dud Wednesday evening. The visiting Rochester Red Wings took an early lead and built it into an 11-1 victory over the Bisons before 17,208 fans at Coca-Cola Field in downtown Buffalo.
It was a Buffalo team whose skipper readily admitted looked tired after returning home from an eight-day road swing to play a one-night homestand.
"It looked like we were dragging," said manager Marty Brown. "Pitching wise, (Bobby) Korecky hand't been out there in a while. You can understand why he didn't locate that well. We just let too many pitches up the middle and had to pay for it."
It was Buffalo starter Claudio Vargas (5-6) who took the loss for Buffalo but all three pitchers who saw action for the Herd felt their share of pain from Rochester's offense.
The Red Wings opened the scoring in the second inning when Deibinson Romero hit a solo shot off over the left field wall to put the visitors ahead, 1-0. Rochester built their lead to 2-0 in the third inning when James Bereford scored from third on Jeff Clement's long fly to center field.
Buffalo got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth when Kevin Pillar, who has made a strong impression since joining the Bisons from Class-AA New Hampshire on June 21, homered over the left field wall.
He went 2 for 4 and is currently on a ten-game hitting streak. He appears increasingly comfortable playing ball at this level.
"I've learned to take the good with the bad, and just always walk to the plate with confidence knowing that any at-bat can be the at-bat that changes the course," Pillar said. "If I was going bad I would think my next at-bat is going to get me out of it, or if I'm going good I feel like I'm going to keep it going."
Brown identified Pillar as a "bright spot" in an otherwise disappointing night for the home team.
"He just figures out a way to make things happen," he said. "It's fun to watch him play. He's still learning a lot at this level, too, but he goes up there with the idea of doing damage every time he goes to the plate and defensively he's played really well."
Rochester responded in the fifth inning, though, when Clement's double fell right on the right field line and rolled into the corner, allowing two runs to score. When the games was over Clement recorded three RBIs.
The Red Wings followed that with two-run innings in the sixth and seventh then saved their best for last. Chris Colabello smacked his 21st home run of the season over the fence at right-center in the top of the eighth. In the top of the ninth, Brian Dinkelman hit a two-run homer in the same direction.
Though sunny skies gave way to increasing clouds as the evening progressed, the weather held for one of the most popular games on the Bisons' schedule, the annual Independence Eve celebration which features live music by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra set to fireworks. Perhaps adding one final insult to injury, a short burst of heavy rain briefly halted the postgame concert. After a short wait, the music resumed and the sky was lit in numerous colors to the delight of a soaked but satisfied crowd.
This year's holiday event was Buffalo's only home game of the week. The Bisons (43-42) will spend their Fourth of July back on the road, traveling to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to face the RailRiders tonight at 7:05 p.m.
"Hopefully we can regroup on this road trip and come home and play with a little more intensity and enthusiasm," said Brown.
In other Bisons news and notes, the team announced prior to the game that Jim Negrych and Mauro Gomez have been named to the International League All-Star Team and will play in the 26th annual Triple-A All-Star Game in Reno, NV on Wednesday, July 17.