Magnificent: Manoah Fans 12 to Win Bisons Debut
There was dominance in every facet of the game from the Buffalo Bisons Thursday night as they defeated the Red Sox 10-1 to start the season 3-0 for the first time since 2017.
The ascendancy began with the 6'6" righty Alek Manoah, who struck out 12 in his first career start at the Triple-A, giving up no runs on just two hits over six innings of work.
Despite having never pitching above the Short Season Single-A level, Manoah, the 11th overall pick to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2019, showed confidence pre-game telling reporters he belonged at the Triple-A level.
"The team believes I am ready to be here, and I surely believe I am ready to be here," said Manoah.
After hitting the second batter of the game, Manoah proved why he thought he belonged as he got into cruise control retiring 16 of the next 20 batters he faced to get the win.
"I just feel like I'm getting better man," said Manoah. "Somethings have been added to the arsenal, the pitch ability, that the feel for hitters and just understanding approaches, I feel like it's getting better every time I grab a baseball."
Manoah pitched out of a short windup using a combination of his powerful fastball up in the zone with a hooking slider to fan Red Sox hitters.
Not only was Manoah throwing heat towards home plate, but he also caught the Red Sox's Jeter Downs at first with a pick-off.
The only trouble Manoah found himself in was with the control of his fastball when throwing inside, hitting three batters in the first four innings.
Despite a scoreless performance, Manoah got more offensive help than he needed as every batter in the Bisons' lineup got on base twice including three-hit games from Forrest Wall, Cullen Large and Christian Colon.
"We had pretty good hitters all around and I think that it is contagious," said Bisons' manager Casey Candaele. "And I think what we are really doing well is battling two strikes and grinding it out."
The Bisons were held scoreless in the first inning for the first time this year. But the shutout did not last long as the Bisons scored first for the third consecutive game. A sacrifice fly by second baseman Col0n drove home Kevin Smith in the second inning to give the Bisons a 1-0 lead.
The scoring continued in third as Breyvic Valera drove home Wall with a single. Rowdy Tellez immediately followed with a towering home run to center for his first of the home run of the year to give the Bisons a 4-0 lead.
The Bisons worked Red Sox starter Daniel Gossett's pitch count early as he threw 59 pitches and faced 16 hitters in the only three innings of work.
"If we can battle and make pitchers throw a lot of pitches to us then things can go our way," Candaele added.
The top of the order stayed hot for the Bisons as a leadoff man as Wall had three hits for the game and is six for 14 in the series. Valera, hitting out of the two spot, had two hits in the game and is four for 12 in the series.
"We have been doing a good job of putting pressure on the other team early in the game," said Candaele.
The Red Sox silenced the Bisons' bats through the fourth and fifth innings before Logan Warmoth hit a home run for the second consecutive game to give the Bisons a 5-0 lead.
Righty Connor Overton took over for Manoah in the seventh. After giving up two singles to start the inning he proceeded to strike out two of the next three batters. But that was not before he gave up an unearned run on a sacrifice fly to cut into the Bisons' lead 5-1.
The Bisons kept the offense going late into the night tacking on a Colon home run, a Valera RBI ground out and a Tellez RBI double in seventh to give the Bisons a 9-1 lead.
Overton continued to roll into the eight striking out one and getting out of the inning with only one base runner coming on an error from Smith, the Bisons second of the game.
The Bisons kept the foot on the gas in the eighth adding an insurance run on a Juan Graterol double into the left-field gap bringing Large home to put the Bisons into double digits in the run column for the night.
Righty Jeremy Beasley got the ball for the ninth with a nine-run lead and closed it out striking out the side for the Bisons' third consecutive win to start the season.
Overall, the struggles continued for the Red Sox as they have all series long. After tonight's game, the Red Sox batters have more strikeouts, 41, than hits, 14, for the series.
The Bisons on the other hand have 36 hits and just 24 strikeouts.
The Bisons have outsourced the Red Sox 21-4 through the first three games and will try to keep up the domination tomorrow night as they face the Red Sox again for game four of the six-game set.
Bisons' right T.J. Zuech is expected to make the start against lefty Stephen Gonzalez at 7:00 p.m. in Trenton Thunder Ballpark.
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