The Bisons took advantage of a season-high 10 walks – including six from starter Thomas Diamond – to support major league veteran Miguel Batista in a 5-3 win Thursday night at Coca-Cola Field.
Over 3 2/3 scoreless innings on 64 pitches, Batista allowed just one hit with two strikeouts and a walk.
“Basically I was trying to get the guys to swing,” Batista said. “It was my first start in, I don’t know, three, four years or something so I didn’t have that many bullets to waste.”
Aside for one five-inning start for the Washington Nationals in 2010, Batista last started 20 of 44 appearances with the Seattle Mariners in 2008.
“He looked like a starter, actually,” manager Tim Teufel said. “He was very confident in his ability tonight.”
Despite his age, Batista, 40, said he has motivation and confidence.
“Before I left the (St. Louis Cardinals), I got to talk to Albert Pujols,” Batista said. “And he said, ‘You have better stuff than a lot of 20-year-olds.’
“You hear that from the guy that’s considered the best player in the game right now. It means a lot,” Batista said.
First-inning singles by Michael Fisher and Zach Lutz followed by three consecutive free passes gave the Herd an early 2-0 lead. Valentino Pascucci walked in his team-best 51st RBI while Jason Botts walked for his 16th.
Jake Stevens replaced Diamond after the righty walked Pascucci and Botts again in the fifth. Stevens then allowed a two-run double to Luis Hernandez.
Diamond allowed four runs on five hits over 4 1/3 innings with three strikeouts.
Rochester picked up three runs against lefties Justin Hampson and Taylor Tankersley in the seventh, marked by Jeff Bailey’s triple and a pair of RBI doubles by Rene Rivera and Brandon Roberts, who went 3-for-5.
With Dale Thayer on for the save and Bailey on second, Bubba Bell robbed Brandon Roberts of an RBI double snagging a hard fly ball on the right field warning track.
Southpaw Mike O’Connor threw 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief for Batista, earning his fourth win.
Following a 7:35 Friday night game at Coca-Cola Field, the two teams repeat the set with a two-game series starting Saturday in Rochester.
Game Notes: The Bisons reached their previous season high in walks four times… Batista had appeared twice out of the bullpen for Buffalo, allowing four runs in two innings… The Bisons moved to 5-4 against the Red Wings this year. .. Thayer leads Buffalo with eight saves on the season… Former Buffalo Sabres tough guy Andrew Peters threw the game’s first pitch… Thayer leads Buffalo with eight saves on the season.