(bisons.com) - The Bisons have seen a revolving door of roster changes lately, with Mets injuries paving the way for ex-Herd players to showcase their abilities in the New York spotlight. Omar Quintanilla was the latest ex-Bison to get his chance, and he made the most of it with two doubles for the Mets Tuesday.
But all season long, the remaining Bisons have stepped up to fill the void for their departed teammates. And Tuesday proved to be no different.
With the Bisons and Clippers locked in a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the 8th, Matt Tuiasosopo came to the plate with a chance to do some damage. With just one out, runners were on first and second, and a solid Tuiasosopo strike would give the Herd a chance to go ahead. Especially considering speedster Fred Lewis was positioned at second base, ready to run if given the chance.
And just like he and his teammates have done all season long, Tuiasosopo came up with a big hit. The versatile right fielder hit a hard line drive into center field that dropped for a base hit, and Lewis sped around to score the go-ahead run. That was all the help the bullpen would need, and the Bisons went on to notch a 3-1 victory over Columbus.
"Tui was up in a good spot," Backman said. "He's been kind of one of the mainstays in our lineup, after the start of the season. Big hit, for Tui to get that hit."
But for the Bisons to have the chance to take the lead on Tuiasosopo's's hit, the pitching staff did a nice job of keeping the Herd in the game. The Bisons pitching force has allowed just three runs over the last three games, and the Herd has gone 2-1 over that span.
Bisons starter Matt Harvey produced another quality start, allowing just three hits and a run over his six innings of work. Although Harvey struggled with his command at points - issuing four walks, including two consecutive in the 2nd inning - the right-hander made enough quality pitches to hold the Columbus offense in check.
Just another day at the office for the former Mets first-round draft choice, who continues his trend of consistent improvement throughout the season.
"In the 2nd inning when he walked the 7- and 8-hole hitters, he just lost his rhythm a bit," Backman said. "And then he seemed to fight through it and get better."
Harvey's improvement is clear to his teammates - to the point where they know he can keep the team in the game even when the offense is struggling.
"He's been pitching great," Tuiasosopo said. "Probably one of the better guys I've seen in the last couple years. He's not going to give up much...We know what to expect every time he has the ball."
Aside from Harvey, the Bisons bullpen continued its trend of locking down opposing hitters late. Chuck James, Pedro Beato, and Fernando Cabrera combined to pitch three innings of scoreless ball for the Herd.
Beato, with the Herd on injury rehab assignment from the Mets, found early discomfort in the 8th when Jason Donald singled and advanced to second on a balk. This put Donald in scoring position with no outs, and the game still tied.
But Beato fought his way through the inning, inducing a groundout to Chad Huffman, and then two consecutive strikeouts to close the inning after intentionally walking Matt LaPorta.
Beato's resilient work kept the game tied, and the Herd took advantage later in the inning.
"He had the balk, battled through the last two hitters," Backman said. "He threw the ball a lot better, located his fastball well on the outer half of the plate. He threw some good sliders, too."
The revolving door of players continues tomorrow, with Josh Thole scheduled to serve as designated hitter for the Herd on rehab assignment. Chris Young is scheduled to pitch Thursday as well, also on rehab.
No matter who may take the field, the Bisons have showed consistent ability to adapt and produce wins. As a result, the Herd owns an impressive record of 30-22.
"We've been doing it all year," Tuiasosopo said. "They've taken a lot of guys from here up to the big leagues, and guys have just stepped right in and continued where those guys have left off."