Early Monday, Dylan Owen was taken out of the Bisons' bullpen to make a spot start for the departed Jeremy Hefner. Before the Herd's game against the IronPigs was half over, Owen found himself back in the bullpen...as a hitter.
Owen became the first Buffalo pitcher in more than 17 years to hit a home run as he went deep in a 5-1 victory over Lehigh Valley from Coca-Cola Park. While he didn't earn the victory on the mound, his work at the plate ignited Buffalo's fifth win in seven games.
It has been almost two decades and two affiliations ago since a Bisons pitcher went deep. In the final season of the Bisons' affiliation with the Pittsburgh Pirates, John Hope homered on August 6, 1994 in a 4-1 loss to Indianapolis. Of course, pitchers rarely hit during the club's partnership with the American League Cleveland Indians.
Owen got his chance to swing against the Philadelphia Phillies' affiliate on Monday because Hefner was recalled by the Mets hours before first pitch. With Buffalo trailing 1-0, he pulled a 1-2 offering from former Bison Pat Misch to left field for his first career home run. The homer was no cheepy and would've been out of most parks (if not all) in the International League.
The home run was the sixth career hit for Owen. He went 0-10 at the plate last season for Buffalo. In another bit of irony, Misch was the Bisons best hitting pitcher a season ago, with two doubles and a modern era record four RBI.
Owen's homer got the Bisons going as Valentino Pascucci followed with an RBI-double later in the fifth. Vinny Rottino closed out the inning with a run-scoring single. After that, the Herd never trailed.
The only downside to the night was that Owen didn't earn the win. Despite retiring the first nine batters he faced, Owen isn't stretched out enough to go deep into games. He did work 4.2 innings and allowed just one run on three hits.
The win went to Josh Edgin (1-0) in his Triple-A debut. The southpaw was recalled Monday from Binghamton and struck out three of the five batters he faced.
BISONS NOTES It's been a good hitting roadtrip for Bisons pitchers. Matt Harvey had two hits and an RBI on Friday night in Syracuse...Hefner pitched three scoreless innings for the Mets in the first game of their Monday doubleheader. Between games for New York, Hefner was optioned back to Buffalo and Jordany Valdespin was recalled...Catcher Jean Luc Blaquiere made his 2012 Bisons debut and fly out as a pinch hitter.