Outs were hard to come by Sunday afternoon as the Bisons fell to the RailRiders, 15-12 in a three-hour and 29-minute marathon at PNC Field.
The teams combined for 27 hits and benefitted from 12 walks and two hit batters in making every trip to the plate another chance to score. In fact, each team failed to put a run up on the scoreboard in just two of their half innings at bat.
But the biggest rally of them all was the RailRiders’ six-run second inning that started with a Herd throwing error. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre proceeded to load the bases before rehabbing Yankees designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion was hit by a pitch from Anthony Kay to force in a run that snapped a 2-2 tie.
Former Bisons catcher Erik Kratz followed with a two-run double into center, and three pitches later, Manny Alvarez hit a three-run homer to right field to put the RailRiders up, 8-2.
It’s hard to believe that the early six-run cushion wasn’t enough, but the Bisons and RailRiders continued to trade runs and the game moved into the bullpens. Roemon Fields‘ sacrifice fly and Anthony Alford‘s RBI single in the fifth brought the Bisons to within 9-4.
The Bisons scored two more times in the sixth on singles from Forrest Wall and Santiago Espinal. Then when Socrates Brito doubled home Alford in the seventh, the Bisons were within 10-7.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre answered back with three RBI singles in the seventh and a two-run home run from Gosuke Katoh in the eighth to build the lead back up to 15-8.
But amazingly enough, the Bisons still brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning, without a base hit. The team drew five walks and Michael De La Cruz was hit by a pitch in the frame, with the free passes to Wall and Espinal forcing in runs. The Herd also got a run-scoring wild pitch and a sac fly from Fields to close to within 15-12. But with two men on base, Alford struck out to David Hernandez to end the game.
Kay suffered the defeat for the Bisons. Only three of the nine runs he allowed were earned on the day. Conor Fisk was one of the only hurlers on the day that could get outs as he allowed just a run on three hits in 3.1 innings of relief.
The Bisons also got two meaningful home runs in the contest. Andy Burns‘ solo shot to lead off the second was his 18th of the season, increasing his career-best total. Wall hit his first career Triple-A home run with one out in the eighth.
At 70-69, the Bisons will close out the 2019 season on Monday afternoon with a 1:05 p.m. game against the RailRiders.