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Big third inning helps Herd earn double header split

STAFF REPORTS

SCRANTON, P.A. -- A five-run inning that included a three-run home run from Richard Urena powered the Bisons to a 6-4 victory over the RailRiders and a doubleheader split with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Saturday evening at PNC Field. The game two win, which included top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. reaching base four times, allowed Buffalo to rebound from a 3-1 defeat in the first game of the evening. 
Limited to just a run on three hits in game one, the Bisons bats broke out in a big way in game two. Already leading 1-0, the first five batters in Buffalo's third inning recorded hits and scored off RailRiders righty Raynel Epsinal. Billy McKinney, who was acquired by the Blue Jays from the Yankees in the J.A. Happ trade last month, tripled home Dwight Smith Jr. and was promptly followed three pitches later by Guerrero Jr.'s opposite field RBI-single. 
A 3-0 lead doubled to a six-run cushion after Rowdy Tellez's single. The fifth hit of the inning was Urena's fourth home run of the season, and opposite field shot to right that ended Espinal's night.
Buffalo would need all of that offense as Scranton/Wilkes-Barre scored runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings to close to within 6-4. The RaiRiders even had the bases loaded in the fifth inning with a familiar batter coming to the plate. Gio Urshela, who made the roadtrip with Buffalo but was traded just prior to the doubleheader, came up to the plate against Herd reliever Conor Fisk. The Herd righty got the better of his former teammate, inducing a popup on the infield.
Urshela also made the final out of the game, striking out in the seventh with two men on base. Justin Shafer had the honors, earning his 11th save of the season.
In Saturday's game two, Guerrero Jr. went 2-2 with a pair of walks. He reached base a combined five times on the evening, with a walk in game one, as well.
The evening's first game came down to the sixth inning with the Bisons failing where the RailRiders didn't. Buffalo had runners on second and third thanks to Guerrero Jr.'s walk and a Danny Jansen double. But the Herd failed to cash in a run as Tellez struck out and Urena popped out.
Then Scranton/Wilkes-Barre put the first two on base with Wilkin Castillo attempting to sacrifice the runners over. The bunt was placed perfectly up the third base line and Bisons relief Jose Fernandez had no chance at any of the runners. However, instead of eating the baseball, the southpaw tried to make the play at third base and threw awkwardly to Guerrero Jr. The ball went up the line, allowing Zack Zehner to score.
The RailRiders added to their lead with Abiatal Avelino's RBI-single later in the inning.
The Bisons were outhit, 10-3 in the first game. Herd starter Matt Tracy did a good job scattering nine of those hits over his five-plus innings, but suffered the defeat.
The Bisons will close out the series Sunday at 1:05 p.m. before heading back to Buffalo for a six-game homestand against Gwinnett and Toledo.