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Herd tops Chiefs, 7-1


SYRACUSE -- The Buffalo Bisons topped the Syracuse Chiefs, 7-1 at NBT Bank Stadium, earning the series win and maintaining first place in the IL North division standings.

There were plenty of clutch hits to go around, starting with a four-run third inning that got the Bisons out in front. The Herd strung four consecutive two-out hits in the frame with Jake Elmore's grounder through the right side plating the game's first run. Rowdy Tellez and Jason Leblebijian followed with doubles into the right field corner as the Herd got to Chiefs starter Taylor Hill.

In the fourth, the first two batters were retired before the Bisons got to work. Shane Opitz singled for the second straight inning and made it 5-0 when he was pushed around the bases on hits from Roemon Fields and Raffy Lopez.

Lopez singled in two more runs in the fifth with two outs to give Buffalo the 7-0 cushion. The Herd's backstop drove in eight in the three-game series against the Chiefs.

The Bisons pitching staff, meanwhile, were quick to put Tuesday's eight-run outburst by the Chiefs behind them. Five Herd hurlers combined to yield just four hits, holding Syracuse off the scoreboard until the ninth inning.

Making his Bisons debut, Cesar Valdez held the Chiefs hitless over the first five innings. He induced 10 ground ball outs and allowed just one batter to reach via a walk. The righty was claimed by the Blue Jays last Friday off waivers from the Athletics. Because Valdez hadn't thrown in eight games, he was lifted after throwing 39 of his 65 pitches for strikes.

Pitching Coach Bob Stanley followed Valdez's stellar outing with a group effort from the bullpen. A tired staff got scoreless innings from starters Luis Santos and Mat Latos before Matt Dermody and Wil Browning polished off the win. Syracuse tallied in the ninth inning of Browning, the only frame the had more than one hit in.

The Bisons are now off to Lehigh Valley with a four-game showdown with the IronPigs. The two teams entered play on Wednesday tied atop the IL North standings.