By MATT PARRINO
Niagara Gazette — After seven straight games decided by three runs or less, the Buffalo Bisons lit up the scoreboard and got an eight-inning gem from veteran pitcher Ramon Ortiz to earn an 8-2 win over Louisville in the final game of a four-game series Sunday afternoon at Coca-Cola Field.
Ortiz had his slider working early on in the game and was consistently getting ahead of hitters, Bisons manager Marty Brown said. The only two runs surrendered by the 40-year-old pitcher came on solo home runs, one by former Bisons slugger Mike Hessman
"(Ramon) left one out over the plate to Mr. Hessman and he hit it a long way," Brown said. "I think it's still rolling around Buffalo some place, but if Ramon gives up a solo shot, so be it. When he's getting behind in counts, that's when we get concerned."
The Herd scored two runs early in the first inning and then added two more in the bottom of the fourth when Louisville committed three errors, two on one play.
Ryan Langerhans hit a slow dribbler to the pitcher and Daniel Corcino turned and fired a bullet over the second baseman's head. Louisville center fielder Denis Phipps then lobbed in a throw that went over the second baseman's head and past catcher Konrad Schmidt, who wasn't expecting a throw.
Langerhans provided some insurance runs in the sixth inning with his sixth home run of the season (a three-run shot), giving him 18 RBIs on the year, good for second on the team behind first baseman Luis Jimenez (27).
One of the leaders in the Bisons clubhouse, Langerhans — 10 years of big league experience with five teams — said it's been fun to come to Buffalo and play with such a talented group of players that is so committed to winning.
He has been working on his patience at the dish and said it's been nice to get a couple good pitches while he's continuing to fine tune his approach at the plate.
"I need to get myself into a good position to be able to see the ball better," he said. "I feel like right now I'm getting my body out of position so I'm not seeing and tracking the ball like I normally would. It will get there but sometimes it's frustrating when it's close and only one thing away."
Brown said that Langerhans has always brought power to any lineup he's batted in and that his hard work won't go unrewarded.
"Right now he's searching for some stuff with his swing, but he's been working on it really hard and it's nice to see him run into a ball like that (on the home run)," Brown said. "He's a veteran-type guy and he brings a lot to the clubhouse and plays good defense. He's a great asset for us to have."
Bisons second baseman Jim Negrych continues to swing one of the hottest bats in baseball, turning in a 2 for 4 performance with two RBIs, raising his batting average to .420 on the season. Anthony Gose and Eugenio Velez both had two-hit games as well for the Herd.
The Bisons improved to 19-9 on the season and are in first place in the International League North division. They open up a four-game series with Norfolk today at 7:05 p.m.Find Tonawanda News Sports Editor Matt Parrino on Twitter @MattParrino.