(bisons.com)-Josh Thole was scheduled to have the day off in Monday's series finale in Harbor Park. But much to the dismay of the Norfolk Tides, he was a late addition to the lineup.
The Buffalo Bisons's catcher had the opportunity to exhibit his versatility when first baseman Luis Jimenez was scratched from the lineup shortly before a start that was delayed an hour by rain.
Jimenez was replaced by Thole, who started at first base for the first time since 2009, and he led a potent Herd offense that had four players account for all the RBIs in a 10-5 over the Tides. Thole led the way with two hits and three RBIs, as the Bisons took the series, 3-1.
Buffalo crushed 13 hits in its second consecutive win, and they finish their eight-game road trip 3-5.
Mauro Gomez matched Thole's RBI total with three of his own coming on two home runs to give him a team-leading 14.
Thole wasted little time giving the game a score. As the third batter of the contest, Thole hit a two-run home run just inside the foul pole in left field to start the offensive onslaught. He added an RBI groundout in the third.
Tides starter Jake Arrieta was tagged for eight of the 10 runs, an impressive feat for Buffalo considering he entered the game 3-2 with a 2.45 ERA. He exited with an ERA of 4.31 ERA after the Herd scored multiple runs in three of the first four innings en route to smacking 10 hits off the righty.
Mike Nickeas, playing behind the plate, also made up for the absence of Jimenez, who is the International League leader in RBIs and runs scored, with a two-RBI performance.
He led off the third with a double to left before Eugenio Velez, who also drove in a pair and recorded three hits for the second straight game, scored him with a ground-rule double the next at-bat. Thole's groundout made it 4-0.
Nickeas added a two-run double the next inning, scoring Ricardo Nanita and Ryan Goins as part of a three-run frame that brought the score to 7-1. On top of a pair of extra-base hits that increased his batting average 21 points, Nickeas scored twice.
In his team-leading 11th start, Claudio Vargas matched the great performance by the offense. He gave up two runs, one earned, on just three hits over five innings.
The Bisons will return home to Coca-Cola Field Tuesday for a four-game series against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Tuesday's game is set for a 7:05 p.m. first pitch, and the series will conclude with a Friday Night Bash.