It didn't look pretty, but Jonathan Diaz's patient at bat won the series opener over Rochester to start Buffalo's eight-game homestand.
Diaz's walk with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth gave the Herd its third straight win Friday night at Coca-Cola Field by the score of 5-3.
Andy LaRoche walked, Ryan Goins hit his way on with a single to left and Hector Gimenez also walked to load up the bases for Diaz. Diaz fought and stood alive in the count against Red Wings pitcher Ryan Pressly. With a full count, Pressly delivered a pitch low and inside that Diaz did not bite on to bring in the winning run.
Diaz did some damage in the seventh as well. After getting robbed of a base hit in the second that would have brought in two runs for Buffalo, Diaz touched them all with a three-run homer to tie the ball game at three. Diaz followed up Andy LaRoche's and Hector Gimenez's singles to left with a souvenir shot that just barely got over the left field wall.
Aaron Sanchez had an ok night to rebound from his Triple-A debut in Toledo. In his five innings of work, Sanchez allowed four hits and three runs (two earned) in his Coca-Cola Field debut. The 21-year old walked and fanned four batters in his no decision.
"Obviously it's a step in the right direction," Sanchez said comparing his first start to Friday nights outing. "It's just abut execution over anything."
"He was a lot better today," manager Gary Allenson said. "He was much better down in the zone, showed really good composure and has electric stuff. That's a pretty good hitting club and I thought he did a pretty good job."
The righty showed signs of progression in his outing on Friday night. He displayed ability to come back with a good pitch and to get batters out after making rookie mistakes. After a lead off walk to Josmil Pinto, Sanchez struck out Chris Colabello then forced Daniel Ortiz into a 6-4-3 double play in the fourth.
Aaron Sanchez's biggest mistake came in the second. Rochester took the early lead with Colabello's second homer of the year. Colabello followed up a Josmil Pinto walk with a crushing two-run shot over the right center wall. The first baseman got a hold of a 94 mph fastball over the center of the plate to open the scoring.
After giving up the two-run shot to Colabello, Sanchez followed up by throwing out Ortiz at first and striking out Wilkin Ramirez after falling behind 3-0 in the count.
"Being only 21, he still needs that development time." Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said, after being in attendance on Friday night. "Being up in this Triple-A environment, the fact that he can hold his own, still strike guys out and show you tremendous stuff is great for him."
The Herd will battle in a double header with the Rochester Redwings tomorrow with first pitch at 5:30pm.