BUFFALO, NY (Bisons.com) - Southpaw starting pitcher Jon Niese made his Major League rehab start today at Coca-Cola field when the Herd opened their four game series with the Syracuse Chiefs. Niese pitched well and left the game with the lead but the bullpen could not hold it for the left hander as the Bisons lost 7-4 for their third straight loss.
Niese was placed on the disabled list by the Mets on May 17 with a right hamstring strain. Niese and his hamstring looked fine today as the he pitched six solid innings for the Herd, giving up eight hits but only allowing two runs. In his six innings of work Niese threw 88 pitches and made them count by having 60 of them for strikes.
When Niese left the game he had put his team in a good position as the Herd led the Chiefs 4-2. Unfortunately for Niese and the Herd the bullpen was unable to keep the Chiefs at bay as they exploded for six unanswered runs in the final three innings to steal the win.
The Chiefs scored six unanswered runs for the second straight day in today's game. In yesterday's game against the Yankees, the Chiefs trailed 4-0 early but answered back with six runs to defeat Scranton 6-4. It was the same story today as the Herd jumped to an early 4-1 lead but the Comeback Chiefs were able to pick up their 30th win of the season by scoring two runs in the seventh, one in the eight and topped it off with two more in the ninth.
The Bisons bullpen had a rough afternoon dealing with the Chiefs. Relieving Niese was right hander Jose De La Torre. De La Torre had a day he would like to forget as he allowed all four batters he faced to reach base.
Chiefs shortstop Pedro Lopez started the comeback when he led off the seventh with a double left field. Following Lopez was pinch hitter Kevin Mench. Mench reached base with a single and second baseman Pete Orr followed suit by also singling and driving home Lopez. De La Torre then made a throwing error to first trying to get out center fielder Boomer Whiting who bunted to try to advance the runners.
De La Torre was then relieved after his error by Adam Pettyjohn to try to limit the damage. Pettyjohn took the mound with the bases loaded and no outs and was able to hold the Chiefs to only one more run. Pettyjohn struck out the first batter he faced but then walked first baseman Josh Whitesell which allowed Mench to score, tying the game at four. Pettyjohn came back by getting third baseman Chase Lambin to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning and get out of the jam.
The Chiefs would get another run in the eighth when Lopez homered to left center off of Pettyjohn and picked up two more runs in the ninth to put the game out of reach.
The Herd was unable to put any more runs on the board and ultimately lost to the Chiefs.
For the Bisons first baseman Daniel Murphy was the catalyst for all four runs the Herd scored on the day. Murphy singled in the first inning to drive home shortstop Ruben Tejada to give him his sixth RBI of the season and the Bisons an early 1-0 lead.
Murphy then doubled in the third inning to again drive home Tejada and second baseman Justin Turner to pick up his seventh and eighth RBI of the year. Murphy then accounted for the fourth and final run of the day for the Herd when right fielder Russ Adams drove home Murphy when Adams singled to right field.
The loss now drops the Herd to 29-22 on the season and the third consecutive loss is only the second time all year that the Bisons have dropped three straight. The three straight losses came back earlier this month when the Herd lost the last game of the series with Indianapolis and then dropped two straight to Louisville.
BISONS NOTES:After going 5-5 yesterday, center fielder Jesus Feliciano did not play today and his league leading batting average still remains at .403. The Bisons will play the Chiefs again tomorrow when left hander Pat Misch (4-1, 3.02 ERA) takes on Chiefs starter Sharion Martis(2-3, 4.84 ERA) at 7:05 p.m.