(bisons.com) - Jim Negrych didn't even need to swing the bat to help the Buffalo Bisons get their fifth straight win.
He was to pinch hit for Clint Robinson in a 1-1 game with two outs and the bases loaded in the 10th against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Coca-Cola Park. But when he was scheduled to be in the batter's box to hit, he was still in the dugout scrambling to assemble the gear he thought he wouldn't need Thursday night.
The Buffalo native soon departed from the dugout, bat in hand, putting his helmet to his head. Negrych took a few practice hacks and then set in to try and break the tie. He did, but those practice swings and quick preparation turned out to just be precautions, in case he had a pitch to hit.
Mauricio Robles walked Negrych on four pitches, giving him credit for the game-winning RBI in an eventual 4-1 victory in 10 innings in the first game of a two-game series with the IronPigs. The Herd drew four walks in the frame, leading to three runs to break the close game.
The next at-bat, Mike McCoy walked to plate Brett Lawrie, who finished 0 for 4 in his third game as part of his MLB rehab assignment with a sprained left ankle. Andy LaRoche, who had two hits, also scored on a wild pitch to cap of the inning.
The 10th inning embodied Buffalo's patience at the plate all night, as Lehigh Valley starter Raul Valdes was forced out of the game after five innings not because he was pitching poorly, but he hurled 97 pitches and went to five full counts. The Bisons drew seven walks in the contest, led by McCoy's three.
On the Bisons' side, Thad Weber continued a string of solid pitching from Buffalo starters.
With allowing one run on seven hits over six innings, the righty made it the Herd's seventh quality start in eight games. And though he didn't go seven innings after doing so in each of his last three starts, he lowered a starting staff ERA that was at 3.21 since July 4 entering the game.
Over that span, with Weber's five strikeouts and one walk, starters have recorded 42 punch outs compared to just six walks.
Weber's outing wasn't smooth sailing from start to finish, however.
Weber was able to avoid an early deficit in the second inning. Leandro Castro reached on a LaRoche error and proceeded to showcase his speed, swiping second and third with no outs. But Weber got Steve Susdorf to go down swinging, Michael Martinez to ground out to second while Lawrie held Castro at third and Cameron Rupp to end the threat with a fly out to center.
In the fourth, the IronPigs saw another glorious opportunity to take a lead slip by when Weber again pitched into and out of trouble.
Cody Asche and Cody Overbeck led off with singles and after Castro struck out, Susdorf walked to load the bases. Weber then induced an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Martinez to get himself out of another jam.
The Bisons were able to cash in when they got runners in scoring position in the fifth. With a two-out RBI single to center, Kevin Pillar, who had two hits, gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead and extended his on- base streak. The outfielder has reached base in all 21 games he has played in at the Triple-A level.
That lead could have been more if not for a nice defensive play earlier in the inning. On a very close play, McCoy was thrown out at the plate by Tyson Gillies when trying to score from second on a Sean Ochinko one-out single to left.
The only run Weber allowed was a solo home run by Asche in the sixth, which tied the game.