The Buffalo Bisons' playoff hopes took another hit today as the Herd dropped a 4-2 decision to the Norfolk Tides before 9,061 in Coca-Cola Field. The teams split their four-game series, with Norfolk winning the final two.
A lone highlight for the Herd was a fifth-inning single to left by outfielder Kevin Pillar that extended his hitting streak to 21 games, tying Jolbert Cabrera's 1998 run as the third-longest in the franchise's modern era. The only players ahead of Pillar are Alex Ramirez (28 in 1998) and Ben Francisco (25 in 2006).
The Bisons have 18 games to play, with the remainder all against North Division foes. But the loss dropped Buffalo five games behind first-place Syracuse in the North and four behind second-place Pawtucket in the IL wild-card race. The Chiefs, Red Sox and third-place Rochester all play tonight.
Raul Valdes (4-5) battled through five-plus innings and took the loss for Buffalo. Valdes actually did a good job minimizing damage as he fell into a 2-0 hole and had runners at second and third with no outs in the second, but prevented any more runs from scoring. Valdes also left the bases loaded in the fifth.
No. 8 hitter Alexei Casilla led Norfolk by going 3 for 4. Leadoff man Julio Borbon had two hits and an RBI.
The Bisons scored in the second on Jonathan Diaz's RBI single and in the eighth on Andy LaRoche's RBI single. LaRoche was the only Buffalo player with two hits. .
The Herd hit the road after the game for Allentown, Pa., where it will open a three-game series Friday night at Lehigh Valley.
The starting pitcher will be Daniel Norris, who pitched six shutout innings with 10 strikeouts in his Triple-A debut Sunday at Durham. The team returns to Buffalo to open its final homestand of the season Tuesday night against Rochester.