Tonight the Buffalo Bisons demolished the Pawtucket Red Sox 15-2, combining an impressive show of offense and a pretty good start from Kendall Graveman. But what really stood out was a sensational defensive play by Blue Jays farmhand Ryan Goins.
In the top of the sixth inning, Pawtucket's Ryan Roberts hit a bouncer to Buffalo third baseman Matt Hague. The ball deflected off of Hague's glove for what was expected to be an error on the third baseman, but the shortstop Goins was there to save the day. The shortstop backed up behind third and grabbed the ricochet with his bare right hand before firing it to first, where a stretching Dan Johnson completed the rare 5-6-3 putout.
"It kind of just happened," Goins told reporters after the game, "it happens so fast most of the time that you don't realize what you're doing until after the play. Just try to get to every ball you can and make the play."
Goins called the 2014 Bisons one of the funnest team he has played on and that the atmosphere in the dugout was full of fun after he made that play.
"It was a hell of a play, you don't see that too often," Bisons manager Gary Allenson said recalling the play, "especially to get a deflected ball in the hole bare handed, throw across the body in the air for the out."
When asked about the feeling in the dugout after that spectacular play, Allenson said that the team has just "gotten used to" that level of play with the Ryan Goins-Jonathan Diaz combination up the middle, remembering another highlight-level play from earlier this week:
"They turn hits into double play and get outs when you [shouldn't] get outs," Allenson continued about the effect of the Bisons' good defense on their young rotation, "they take a lot of heat off the pitchers."
Both defensive plays have made it to ESPN SportsCenter's "Top 10" this week.
- Ryan Goins also had a great time at the plate as well. He had three doubles and a single, driving in two and scoring two.
- Dalton Pompey continued his hot start in triple-A, going 3-for-5 with a double, a walk, and a stolen base in front of his parents, brother, and friends who drove down from Mississauga for the game. He said his quad is now back to "100%" but he will get a scheduled day off on Sunday to give Anthony Gose to play centre field.
- Kevin Pillar went 2-for-4 with a sac fly, double and a three-run homer in the first to secure five RBIs in his first game back after missing four games from hurting his elbow falling on a rock.
- Cole Gillespie got on base five times on two singles, two walks, and a double, scoring three times.
- Dan Johnson, who is officially on a major league rehab assignment, went 0-for-4 but hit the ball hard twice, once lining it to deep right and the other time hitting a frozen rope right into the second baseman who was shifted into shallow right field. He did get on base once on a walk, his 83rd of the season. Despite missing more than a month due to his callup and subsequent injury, Johnson still holds a 14-walk lead in the International League.
- Kendall Graveman didn't look dominant, striking out just one PawSox and allowing nine hits, but he limited the damage by not walking anyone and getting three inning-ending double plays to limit Pawtucket to two runs. He pitched like an extreme ground ball pitcher, just as advertised: out of the 21 outs he made in the game, 16 came on a ground ball. After the game, Gary Allenson said that Graveman is not afraid of getting contact--of course not, he is currently playing in front of a great defensive team.
- Steve Delabar came out and struck out the side in the ninth, but surrounded those with two walks and a single on a comebacker that he did not field cleanly. He ended up tossing 33 pitches, and showed little command of his fastball, but still struck out the side because it's triple-A.
- With the win over Pawtucket, Buffalo is just one game behind them for the IL Wild Card and are now 4.5 games behind Syracuse for the IL North division lead.