By: Brian Frank
The Bisons began their series at Frontier Field in Rochester with some new faces on the roster. Gabriel Moreno, Joshua Fuentes, and Gosuke Katoh all joined the team in the Flower City. Moreno, a catcher who appeared in three games for Buffalo during the Final Stretch last season, is the Blue Jays number one rated prospect. Fuentes, an infielder, slashed .269/.324/.492 in 49 games at Triple-A Albuquerque last season. Katoh’s stay with the Bisons was brief, as he was called back up to Toronto after playing just one game for the Herd.
Buffalo also lost a key player when Joshua Palacios was claimed by the Washington Nationals, Rochester’s parent club, after the Blue Jays designated him for assignment earlier in the week in order to clear a spot on their 40-man roster. In six games with the Bisons this season, Palacios had an .857 OPS with two home runs.
The Bisons and Red Wings entered the ninth inning of the first game of the series tied 4-4. Samad Taylor singled and Vinny Capra walked to begin the final frame for the Herd. LJ Talley singled home Taylor to give the Bisons the lead and Capra came home on a fielder’s choice groundout to give Buffalo an insurance run. Kyle Johnston came in to retire the Red Wings in the ninth and secure the Bisons 6-4 win.
Moreno had a solid season debut, going 2-for-5. He also made a sliding catch on a foul pop up and threw out a runner attempting to steal, both plays coming in the first inning.
After Wednesday night’s game was postponed due to rain, the Bisons’ bats came through big on Thursday. A six-run fifth inning, highlighted by a Samad Taylor grand slam, catapulted the Herd to a 10-1 win. In a total team effort, Nathan Lukes, Vinny Capra, and Gabriel Moreno collected three hits apiece, LJ Tally and Nick Podkul each had two hits, and Casey Lawrence only allowed one run over six innings, lowering his ERA to 1.64 for the season.
The Bisons celebrate after their 10-1 win. Photo Credit: Brian M. Frank, The Herd Chronicles.
The two teams split Friday's doubleheader on a windy, drizzly day. Rochester took the first game on a walk-off RBI double by Jake Noll. The Bisons used an eight-run third inning to take the nightcap by a score of 9-4. The big hits in the Bisons third inning were a two-run double by Moreno, a two-run single by Mallex Smith, and an RBI single by Talley.
The Red Wings prevailed in a shootout on Saturday afternoon. Buffalo took a 4-0 lead in the first inning on a grand slam by Logan Warmoth, but Rochester scored the next ten runs to take a 10-4 lead into the eighth inning. Buffalo rallied for five runs in the eighth and one in the ninth to tie the game 10-10. However, Joshua Palacios, in his first game with the Red Wings, came back to haunt his former team by lining a game winning single in the tenth inning. It was the fifth time Palacios had reached base in the game, having already stroked a three-run home run, singled, and walked twice.
Rochester won the series finale by a score of 8-1 to salvage a split of the six-game series. A pair of former Bisons starred in the game for the Red Wings – Palacios drilled another three-run home run, his second in two days, and former Bisons hurler Aaron Sanchez allowed a run in six innings of work.
The Bisons return to Sahlen Field on Tuesday to begin a six game series with the Scranton/Wilke-Barre RailRiders, the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees. Buffalo is currently in third place in the ten team International League East with a 7-4 record, two games back of division-leading Worcester. Scranton/WB is in sixth place with a 4-6 record.
New Bisons catcher Gabriel Moreno. Photo Credit: Brian M. Frank, The Herd Chronicles.