PAWTUCKET, R.I. (From Bisons.com)- Runs were at a premium, and the Buffalo Bisons were unable to manufacture more than the Pawtucket Red Sox at McCoy Stadium Sunday.
The PawSox won the matinee, 3-1, to increase their lead in the International League wild-card standings by 1 ½ games over the Herd. Prior to its game Sunday night, Norfolk sat a half-game behind Pawtucket and a game ahead of Buffalo.
Sean Nolin started for the Herd in his Triple-A debut after making 17 starts for Double-A New Hampshire and pitching a game for the Toronto Blue Jays on May 24 this season. The 23-year-old who had a 3.01 earned run average with New Hampshire, experienced mixed results, striking out four and walking four while taking the loss.
The left-hander began the contest with three scoreless innings, but RBI singles by Drew Sutton in the fourth and Jackie Bradley Jr. in the fifth led to a 2-0 Red Sox lead. Those were the only runs allowed by Nolin (0-1), who gave up seven hits on 95 pitches over 5 1/3 innings.
Meanwhile, the Herd struggled to advance runners on the base paths. Managing six hits, the Bisons were able to get just two runners into scoring position and neither was plated, finishing 0 for 8 as a team with runners in scoring position.
Clint Robinson was the offense, hitting a two-out solo home run to right-center field in the sixth to narrow the gap to 2-1. After a Bradley Jr. seventh-inning solo homer made it 3-1, the Bisons threatened to tie it in the eighth.
A Ryan Goins walk was followed two batters later with Robinson's single to right, putting runners on the corners. But Andy LaRoche, who extended a career-high hit streak to 10 games with a single in the fourth, grounded into a fielder's choice for the third out.
During the 10-game span, LaRoche is 14 for 38 (.368) with five doubles and six RBIs.
For the second consecutive game against the PawSox, the Bisons faced a knuckleballer. They faced Steven Wright in Saturday night's win and on Sunday, it was Charlie Haeger (4-3). The right-hander kept Buffalo's batters off-balance with the unique pitch, striking out five and allowing five hits and a run over six innings to pick up the win.
The third game of the crucial four-game set will be played Monday at 7:05 p.m. The Herd will send Kyle Drabek (1-0, 0.00) to the hill for his first start, second appearance, with the team, while Pawtucket will start right-hander Clayton Mortensen (2-0, 3.52).
BISONS NOTES: Catcher A.J. Jimenez, playing in his first game for the Bisons after a promotion from New Hampshire on Saturday, went 1 for 3...Robinson finished 2 for 3 with a walk, increasing his average to .237...Brad Glenn singled in the ninth to give him a hit in each of his first four games with Buffalo.