With a beautiful sunny sky shining above Coca-Cola Field, the Bisons finally got their 30th season at Coca-Cola Field underway on Saturday with a 4-2 victory over the defending Governors' Cup champion, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Rowdy Tellez homered twice and Jarrett Grube answered an unexpected starting call to hand Bobby Meacham a victory in his Buffalo managerial debut.
The Bisons watched for two days as the rain, and then the snow, took over the ballpark and delayed the campaign that was supposed to start on Thursday. But on Saturday, the only thing falling from the sky was home runs from one of the Blue Jays' top prospects.
In the second inning, Tellez took a 3-1 fastball from RailRiders starter Johnny Barbato over the left field wall to open the scoring. Two innings later, the first baseman jumped all over a first pitch heater from Barbato and deposited it into the Bully Hill Party Deck in right. It was the third career multi-homer game for Tellez and the first time a Bisons batter went deep twice on Opening Day since Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Young accomplished the feat on April 8, 2005 against Richmond.
Tellez also becomes the first Bisons player to homer in his Triple-A at-bat since former outfielder Brad Glenn did so in the late stages of the 2013 season.
Buffalo tallied again in the fifth inning when Dwight Smith Jr. singled and scored on a doubleplay ball to make it 3-0.
That proved to be enough for Grube and four Herd relievers. Grube stepped in for scheduled hurler Casey Lawrence, who was scratched from the start so that he could be promoted to the Blue Jays after the game. The veteran struck out three and did not issue a walk in the victory. He kept the RailRiders off the board until the fifth inning when the first two batters reached and scored.
Leonel Campos got out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning to preserve the 3-2 lead. Chad Girodo and Danny Barnes retired the final eight batters of the game to nail down the win.
The Bisons scored their fourth run in the seventh inning when Jason Leblebijian worked a two-out walk and advanced to second base on a passed ball before Chris Coghlan's RBI-single.
Coghlan finished his Bisons debut 2-2 with a pair of walks.
The Bisons also benefited from same great defense in the game, including a diving grab in center by Darrell Ceciliani to end the eighth inning.
BISONS NOTES: The Bisons were just 5-16 against the RailRiders last season with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre bringing an eight-game winning streak against Buffalo into today's game…Dwight Smith Jr. had a solid Triple-A debut, going 2-2 with a run scored…The Bisons held the RailRiders to 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
UPDATED: Fan Guide for 'Opening Weekend'
Much of the great entertainment planned still a go for Saturday's Opening Day