Owen is outstanding for the Buffalo Bisons
Owen turned in seven sparkling innings to pace the Buffalo Bisons 8-2 win over Rochester at Coca-Cola Field, Sunday afternoon.
Improving to 2-1 on the season, Owen gave up one earned run on just four hits. He struck out seven without issuing a walk. It was his first win since beating Pawtucket out of the bullpen on April 6.
"I was just trying to be aggressive in the zone and finish through the catcher. It helped out a lot," Owen said. "And the first three innings I just tried to throw a lot of fastballs and that kept them off (balance) later on in the game when I started mixing my pitches. Really, I'm just trying to keep my pitch count down and go after hitters. I talked to (pitching coach Mark Brewer) about it and he just wants us to be aggressive and go after the hitters."
Efficient as well as very economical, Owen threw 56 of his 78 pitches for strikes, and had just one three-ball at-bat against Joe Benson in the fourth. Owen threw just six pitches in the second inning, exiting after inducing three straight fly outs.
"The only word is outstanding for Owen today," Bisons skipper Wally Backman said."I think he only had 49 pitches after five innings something like that. He was able to locate his fastball, get early contact. He just did a great job today."
Just his second start of the season, the door back into the rotation opened for Owen on Thursday when the Mets called up Chris Schwinden.
"I feel like I have a little more of a starters mentality," Owen said."But I'm alright out of the bullpen too."
But April 23 was a much bigger day for Owen because it marked his first-ever home run in professional baseball and the first time a Bison pitcher went deep since John Hope did it on Aug.6, 1994.
If anything could push Owen's performance off the front page it would be the job that has been done by the top of the batting order-Bobby Scales and Vinny Rottino.
Both went 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored against Rochester. Scales, who is batting .413, in on a nine game hitting streak while Rottino (.313) extended his streak to 11th consecutive games.
"If I'm choosing sides in anything, I want Vinny Rottino on my team," said Bobby Scales. "Because he's gonna do what needs to be done to help his team win."
Joe Benson tripled in the seventh. Just the second triple Herd pitching has allowed this season.
Scott Diamond (4-1) flirted with a no-hitter until the fourth inning. Ultimately he gave up seven runs on 11 hits.
Winners of 14 games in the month of April, the Bisons have clearly shown that this is a team that is on the same page.
"A lot of these guys weren't able to play together in spring training," Backman said. "Now that they've been able to do that it's fun to be in the dugout, and that's what it takes to win."
Bobby Scales agreed that team chemistry is something that should never be taken lightly.
"You can't fake it, man. You can't fake it." He said."I've been on some bad baseball teams and I've been on some good ones and the common thread seems to that you've got guys from all different walks of life-black guys, Latin guys-guys genuinely like each other in here. It's nice. We talk to each other, we ask about family. It's awesome. And on the field I think that it comes through in the way that we play the game."
The series with the Red Wings wraps up Monday at 6:05. Bison lefty Garrett Olson (0-1, 2.82 ERA)
will face RHP Daryl Thompson (1-2, 4.26 ERA).
Ben Revere got the start in right field for the Red Wings on Sunday. Which meant Revere could not be in Minnesota for the Twins special promotion-Ben Revere Bat Day. Which begs the question, who would want a Ben Revere bat to begin with?
The Durham Bulls have fallen on hard times this season, having dropped 12 straight games coming into Sunday's game against Indianapolis.