BUFFALO, N.Y. (From Bisons.com) - Pitching was the key for the Herd to split a two-game series with Syracuse.
It looked as if Raul Valdes wanted some revenge for what A.J. Cole did to his ball club last night because the lefty pitched a gem in Buffalo's 3-1 win at Coca-Cola Field.
"The key was Raul. He's been very valuable since he got here," manager Gary Allenson told the media postgame. "He's really good at hitting that inside corner on righties. That's the toughest lineup in the league right there."
Valdes sat down the number one offense in the International League with ease on Thursday afternoon. In his fifth start of the season, the lefty hurled seven shutout innings and limited the top offense to just three hits. Valdes did a tremendous job in limiting Syracuse's scoring chances. The Chiefs were able to get just one runner in scoring position through the first seven frames. Valdes fanned five Chiefs before departing for Steve Delabar.
"With them [Syracuse] having eight righties in the lineup, to go seven innings of shutout baseball was outstanding," Allenson said.
Delabar pitched a one hit eighth before Bobby Korecky pitched the ninth to get his 14th save of the season.
On the offensive side, the Herd got the job done with some scoring that was jump-started by Ryan Schimpf.
Schimpf stayed hot in the batters box. The #2 hitter sent a screaming line drive over the center field wall to open up Thursday's scoring. The former Fisher Cat has been turning heads recently. It's Schimpf's third bomb in seven games, sixth with the Herd and 21st on the year.
"It was a good team win," Schmipf said, "I don't try to do too much. I get in trouble when I'm too aggressive. I'm just trying to be patient till I get something to drive."
A couple of unearned runs added to Buffalo's lead in the fifth. With a man on second and no one out, Darin Mastroianni lined one to straightaway center field that looked like a routine fly out, but the ball bounced off Eury Perez's glove and rolled to the warning track in center. Mastroianni advanced to third while Diaz scored from second. Kevin Pillar followed up by hitting a sac fly to right to score Mastroianni and cap off the scoring in the frame.
With the win, the Bisons tie Syracuse in the Thruway Cup standings. The Herd will start a four-game series with Lehigh Valley tomorrow with P.J. Walters on the mound against Jason Marquis with first pitch at 7:05pm.
RHP Liam Hendriks needs just 13 innings for his ERA to have full season qualification. He leads the IL with a 2.40 ERA. After he tossed a pair of shutout innings yesterday, RHP Kyle Drabek has now allowed just one run on six hits over his last five relief appearances. Since being moved to the bullpen in mid-June, the righty has posted a 2.25 ERA in eight games. The Bisons currently have 58 different players to see game action, just 11 short of the modern ERA record of 69 in 2000.