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Lopez homers twice as Herd wins, 9-3


Raffy Lopez did a pretty good job filling the big shoes (and bat) left by Mike Ohlman.

The Bisons' newest backstop replaced Toronto's newest catcher in grand style, hitting two home runs and driving in five to help the Herd upend the Chiefs, 9-3, Monday night at NBT Bank Stadium in Syracuse, NY.

It was a day of adjustments for the Bisons. Early in the afternoon, the club lost maybe the biggest bat in their lineup as Ohlman received his first career big league promotion. Then, sixty minutes before first pitch, Buffalo learned they would be without the services of scheduled starter Casey Lawrence, who was designed for assignment by Toronto to make roster room for Ohlman.

In stepped Lopez, who was just promoted to the Bisons from Double-A New Hampshire on Sunday. The 29-year old homered in each of his first two at-bats, belting the Bisons to an early 5-1 lead that they road to victory.

In the second inning and with Jason Leblebijian on first with one of his four hits on the night, Lopez lifted a 2-0 offering from Chiefs starter Greg Ross into the jet stream. The ball carried to the ally in right-centerfield and over the wall to erase Syracuse's early 1-0 lead.

Two innings later, Lopez had Ross's number again. This time, the catcher pulled a 1-0 pitch down the right field line for a three-run shot.

Lopez becomes the third Bisons batter this year to have two homers in a game, joining Ohlman and Rowdy Tellez. He had just three home runs in his first career 176 Triple-A games coming into the game.

The early lead provided by Lopez allowed the Bisons' bullpen to settle in with the task of replacing their starter. Murphy Smith retired seven in row and allowed just a single run through three innings. Leonel Campos (2-0) got the win for a pair of scoreless frames before Chad Girodo stepped up with the rare four-inning save. The lefty threw strikes, picking up four punchouts and getting threw his four frames on just 48 pitches.

The Herd salted away their victory with a pair of two-run rallies in the fifth and ninth innings. Leblebijian drove in a run in each rally, with an infield single in the fifth and a grounder past the pitcher in the ninth. He finished the game 4-4 with a walk and a pair of RBI.

Quick turnaround for the Bisons as they will face the Chiefs on Tuesday afternoon at 1:05 p.m.

BISONS NOTES: The Bisons offense and pitching picked up the defense, which made a season-worst four errors…The Blue Jays also promoted Mike Bolsinger to their 24-hour taxi squad on Monday…Jake Elmore finished the game 2-4 with two stolen bases and two runs scored.