By Mike Harrington
Absurdly-hot leadoff man Jim Negrych went 3 for 5 and drove in two runs today as the Buffalo Bisons completed what's believed to be the longest perfect road trip in their modern era with an 8-2 win over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
The 10:35 a.m. start in Allentown, Pa., was nationally televised on MLB Network and the TV audience saw the Bisons wrap up their second straight four-game sweep and an 8-0 trip to Syracuse and Lehigh Valley. The eight straight road wins are one shy of the franchise record of nine set over three series in April and May of 1985, the year Buffalo returned to Triple-A baseball.
The franchise record for consecutive wins overall is 10, last set in August, 2004. The Bisons are 12-4 and can move a step closer to that mark when they go for No. 9 Tuesday night at 6 in Coca-Cola Field as they open a four-game series against the defending International League champion Pawtucket Red Sox.
Negrych, the St. Francis product, is 20 for 41 on the season and improved his batting average to an IL-best .488. He drove in the first run of the game with an RBI single in the third and the Bisons went on to a four-run inning that put them in command for good. Negrych added another RBI single in the sixth and also singled and scored in the ninth.
Catcher Josh Thole and left fielder Eugenio Velez also had two hits for the Herd. Buffalo outscored its opponents, 64-25, in the eight games, highlighted by its 27-9 outburst Thursday at Syracuse. Starting pitcher Justin Germano (3-1) went seven innings and reliever Mickey Storey finished by striking out five of the six men he faced in two perfect frames.
The 12-4 start equals Buffalo's best through 16 games in the modern era. The Bisons were also 12-4 in 1996, 2000 and 2001.