When Buffalo was searching for a replacement MLB franchise to supplement their on field talent for 2013 and beyond, they made one thing clear to their potential suitors. The Bisons wanted to win.
Having run their course in Las Vegas, the Blue Jays began the search for a new home to house their AAA franchise around the same time that Buffalo began to cut ties with the New York Mets. The Blue Jays featured what many regarded as a strong Minor League system, something the Bisons ownership was looking for having missed out on the playoffs for a consecutive 6 seasons.
Logistically, the Bisons and the Blue Jays are a match made in heaven and the events that transpired up until the Player Development contract was inked on September 18, 2012 turned in to the perfect storm for both franchises.
On April 4th, 2013, the Buffalo Bisons played their first game as an affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, a 12-7 victory over the Rochester Redwings and the rest is history.
Although an impressive 8-4 record across the first 12 games of the season is nothing to complain about, the Bisons haven’t won anything yet but Thursdays game vs the Syracuse Sky Chief’s, former long time AAA affiliate of the Blue Jays, was certainly something to write home about.
For the first time this season, the Bisons were presented with an opportunity to sweep a 4 game series vs a rival International League team. Having won the first game by 5 Runs and taking the following 2 by holding on to a 1 Run lead in the 9th, Buffalo sent recent Toronto waiver claim Edgar Gonzalez to the hill looking for his first Win as a Bison.
After jumping out to a 5-0 lead at the end of the first, Gonzalez allowed 3 in the 2nd, and a 1 in the 3rd narrowing the Buffalo lead to a singe Run headed into the 4th. This would be the closest the Nationals AAA affiliate Sky Cheifs would come to leveling the score with the Bisons.
The 4th inning saw Buffalo plate an additional 5 Runs followed by 3 in the 6th, 10 in the 7th and an additional 4 “Tack On” Runs in the 9th en route to a 27-9 drumming of Syracuse.
Some of the records broken by a red hot Bisons club include:
*Most Hits recorded during the modern era (29) International League
*Most Runs scored during the modern era (27) International League
*Largest margin of victory during the modern era (18) Bisons
* The 10 Run 7th ties a record for most Runs in an inning (10) Bisons
As a team, the Bisons dominated Thursdays game however some individual performances standout such as Moises Sierra‘s 6 Hit/5 Run/3 RBI game, Ryan Langerhans 3 Hit/5 Run/6 RBI showing punctuated by a pair of Home Runs and Luis Jimenez‘s 5 Hit/4 Run/ 8 RBI day at the dish. All these totals aside, it was one player that truly rose to greatness Thursday afternoon.
Jim Negrych continued his impressive start to the season by hitting for the Cycle during the Bisons rout. His 6th inning Home Run gave Buffalo it’s first hitter to achieve such a feat since 2010 when Justin Turner completed the Cycle in Rochester. Negrych’s final line included 4 Hits, 4 Runs and an RBI hitting out of the lead off spot for the Bisons. At the end of the day, Negrych, a Buffalo native, would see his 2013 AAA Batting Average rise to a staggering .515 on the young season.
Again, although they haven’t won anything yet, Thursdays performance certainly gave Bisons fans something to cheer about on both sides of the border. AAA Buffalo features an intriguing mix of both young and experienced individuals that will no doubt contribute throughout the season as this franchise looks to capture it’s first league title since 2004.