(bisons.com) - The inning started innocently enough.
A two-out bunt single started a game-winning rally for Norfolk that ended with a Danny Valencia home run and dealt the Bisons an 8-4 loss on Wednesday night at Coca-Cola Field.
Buffalo was holding onto a 3-2 lead and starter Claudio Vargas had easily retired the first two batters of the fifth inning. That's when Yamiaco Navarro laid down a perfect bunt on the first pitch he saw. The ball rolled slowly to third base and died on the grass before Eugenio Velez could make a play.
With all the hard-hit balls seen in this series between two of the International League's best teams, the bunt didn't seem like a turning point. But Lew Ford followed by drawing a five-pitch walk and Valencia drove the first pitch he saw a third of the way up the protective netting beyond the left field wall for a home run.
The homer was Velancia's fifth of the season and gave the Tides a 5-3 edge.
The game looked like it was shaping up to be a slugfest after the first inning. Norfolk's first two runners scored as Jason Pridie left off the game with a home run and Yamaico Navarro singled and came around on a hit and a wild pitch.
Buffalo did one better as their first three hitters touched the dish. Anthony Gose reached on an error and scored his IL-leading 26th run thanks to another double from Jim Negrych. Moises Sierra's RBI-single tied the score and Josh Thole gave the Herd the only lead they would have with a single through the right side.
But after the first inning, Tides pitcher Jair Jurrjens settled down. He retired 13 Bisons in a row and didn't allow a hit over the final five innings of his outing.
Norfolk added insurance with a pair of unearned runs in the eighth inning and one more on a pair of hits in the ninth. Bisons outfielder Ryan Langerhans homered in the ninth inning.
The Bisons will wrap up the series and the homestand on Thursday afternoon at Coca-Cola Field with a 1:05 p.m. first pitch against the Tides.