Richard Impresses as Bisons Top Bats, 4-3
The Blue Jays rotation might be just a few days away from a much-needed boost.
Clayton Richard, rehabbing his Spring Training injury with the Bisons, impressed for 3.1 hitless innings of a 4-3 Bisons win over the Louisville Bats, Saturday afternoon from Sahlen Field. Roemon Fields scored a pair of runs for the Herd and Andy Burns drove home the game-winning tally with a two-out single in the eighth inning.
Making his first appearance at any level in 2019, Richard retired 10 of the 12 hitters he faced and picked up four strikeouts without allowing a hit. He did walk two batters, but threw 31 of his 48 pitches for strikes in a solid debut to the season.
Richard, who topped out a 93 mph on the ballpark radar gun, suffered a stress reaction in his right knee late in Spring Training. With injuries mounting at the big league level, his start on Saturday for the Bisons has to be a tremendous sign for the Blue Jays.
After reaching his pitch count of 45 two batters into the third inning, Richard left Saturday's game with the Bisons holding a 2-0 lead. Fields hit an RBI-triple off the top of the wall in deep right-centerfield in the second inning to get the Bisons on the scoreboard. He then came around to score on Anthony Alford's single into right field one batter later.
Then with the game tied at two in the eighth, Fields started another rally thanks to his greatest asset, his speed. After drawing a leadoff walk, Fields stole second and quickly dashed to third when catcher Stuart Turner threw the ball into centerfield. That forced Louisville to bring their infielders in and Ben Revere capitalized with a sharp double down the right field line.
Burns added the much-needed insurance with two outs in the eighth inning, singled home Revere with a line drive into centerfield. That proved to be the game-winning hit as Bats' first baseman Nick Longhi homered to lead off the ninth to close Louisville within a run.
Longhi accounted for all of Louisville's offense on Saturday as he hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning, as well.
The Bisons close out the homestand on Sunday with a 1:05 p.m. first pitch against the Bats.
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