Tonawanda News — BUFFALO — After allowing only three earned runs combined in his first three starts of the season, Buffalo Bisons pitcher Claudio Vargas has surrendered at least that many in each of his last three outings — the last of which came Wednesday night in a 8-4 loss to the Norfolk Tides.
Vargas went six innings, allowing five earned runs and a pair of long balls to put the Herd (20-11) in a hole they weren't able to escape.
Bisons manager Marty Brown said the lackluster start from Vargas was very uncharacteristic.
"It's not really typical of him," he said. "He came out and looked a little lackadaisical and he didn't have a lot of energy, but he regrouped I thought."
The Bisons led 3-2 after the first inning on the strength of an RBI double by red-hot second baseman Jim Negrych, a single by right fielder Moises Sierra and a one-out RBI single by catcher Josh Thole.
But in the top of the fifth inning, Tides' cleanup hitter Danny Valencia blasted a 3-2 pitch over the left field wall to put his team up for good.
Brown though Vargas settled down after giving up the second long ball, but it was too late for the Bisons, who finished with only six hits in the game.
"The pitch he gave up the home run to Valencia was a change up first pitch, which probably wasn't the best pitch selection," Brown said. "Claudio, sometimes, needs to rethink about how he's going to attack a hitter in a certain situation."
Negrych improved his Internaional League-best batting average to .429 in the loss and extended his current hitting streak to seven games.
Blue Jays starting second baseman Emilio Bonifacio recorded his first hit since April 27 on Wednesday night, sparking even more fan fare around Negrych, who is still waiting for his first-ever call up to the show. The 28-year-old Buffalo native has hit safely in 21 of 24 games and has 11 multi-hit games on the season (six with at least three hits).