Gee gets record, Bisons get big win
The Bisons kept pace while their ace set a new one.
Dillon Gee broke the club’s modern era single-season strikeout record and the Bisons rallied late for a 7-6 walk-off victory over the rival Rochester Red Wings on Wednesday night at Coca-Cola Field. Mike Cervenak’s two-out single in the ninth drove home Justin Turner and gave the Herd their 10th walk-off win of the season.
With the victory, Buffalo kept pace with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the divisional race and Louisville for the IL’s lone wild card spot. Both the Yankees and Bats won on Wednesday.
Walk-off wins have become almost customary for the Herd at home this season. This edition came as the Bisons also notched their 30th comeback victory of the season as Buffalo trailed by as much as three runs.
Turner drew a walk to lead off the frame and advanced to second on Nick Evans grounder. With two outs, Rochester decided to go Cervenak and walked Triple-A rookie Kirk Nieuwenhuis to get to the two-time All-Star. But the choice backfired as Cervenak delivered the base hit up the middle for the win.
Yet another late-inning victory shouldn’t overshadow the accomplishment of Bisons hurler Dillon Gee much earlier in the game. The righty broke the club’s modern era single-season record for strikeouts with eight more punchouts on Wednesday.
Gee now has 144 strikeouts on the year, but it was his 138th that set a new standard in Buffalo. Gee threw a nasty off-speed pitch to Jose Morales on a 1-2 pitch that got the Red Wings’ catcher swinging. The strikeout broke the 20-year old record of 137, set in 1990 by Vicente Palacios.
Gee was given a great ovation by the Coca-Cola Field crowd after the record-breaking strikeout. As the fans cheered, the hurler tossed the ball into the dugout for safe keeping.
Gee struck out Morales three times in the game, but ran into trouble while trying to hold onto a 3-2 lead in the sixth inning. After allowing a single to Dustin Martin and hitting Brendan Harris, Gee allowed a three-run home run to designated hitter Erik Lis. Gee left with a no-decision, failing at his bid to become the IL’s second 13-game winner.
Rochester increased its lead to 6-3 before the Bisons tied it with three in the bottom half of the sixth. Cervenak scored a wild pitch and J.R. House plated Russ Adams with an infield single. Turner singled with the bases loaded to tie the game.
Buffalo used the long ball to gain the early lead. Adams and Turner hit solo home runs in the second and fifth innings respectively.
BISONS NOTES: Jorge Padilla left the game in the fourth inning after a scary play at second base. Padilla slide into the bag trying to break up a doubleplay and Rochester’s shortstop Matt Tolbert hit Padilla in the head with his relay through. Padilla was able to walk off on his own power, but was taken to the hospital for further testing…Gee’s previous high for strikeouts in a season was 114, set in 25 starts between Single-A and Double-A in 2008…Buffalo didn’t gain any ground in the IL Wild Card race. Louisville got a walk-off grand slam in the first ever Triple-A game for catcher Devin Mesoraco for a 5-3 win over Syracuse.