By MIKE MEILER
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — In their first game following a record April, the white-hot Buffalo Bisons were cooled off by Louisville pitcher Yahon Pino in a 4-1 loss Thursday night at Coca-Cola Field.
Armando Gallaraga -- who had a perfect game infamously taken away on a blown call with two outs in the bottom of the ninth while pitching for the Detroit Tigers on June 2, 2010 -- got the start for Louisville (13-14), but only lasted 2/3 of an inning.
Buffalo's Jim Negrych led off with a first-pitch home run in the bottom of the first, and Anthony Gose followed with a single. Moises Sierra grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, while Luis Jimenez ripped a single off Gallaraga, who was pulled with an injury.
The three hits would be almost half of Buffalo's total (seven), as Nino (1-2, 1.23 ERA) came in and threw 6 1/3 innings of shutout ball in relief. Mike McDougal -- formerly of the Kansas City Royals -- tossed a scoreless eighth and Kevin Whelan matched that in the ninth for his fourth save of the season.
The Bats got on board in the third. Denis Phelps walked and Josh Fellhauer singled before Konrad Schmidt laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving the two to second and third. Speedster Billy Hamilton -- one of the Cincinnati Reds' top prospects -- drilled a liner to right, scoring Phelp, and Buffalo starter Claudio Vargas (3-1, 3.10) walked Henry Rodriguez to load the bases.
Neftali Soto followed with a RBI single, and Felix Perez hit a RBI ground out before Vargas got former Bison Mike Hessman to strikeout to end the inning.
Vargas pitched through the sixth. After striking out Perez, Hessman singled and moved to second on Emmanuel Burriss' ground out. Phelps walked and Fellhauer singled to knock in Hessman, capping the scoring at 4-1.
Mickey Storey took over for Vargas in the seventh and gave up only a single in three innings to finish the game.
Buffalo (17-8) finished April with a 17-7 record, best in the team's modern era. Negrych finished 1 for 3, dropping his average to .424 on the season. Gose and Ryan Goins led the team with two hits apiece.
The teams play again at 7:05 p.m. tonight at Coca-Cola Field, the second of a four-game series.Follow sports reporter Mike Meiler on Twitter @mikemeiler for updates on your local teams.