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Pascucci electrifies Bisons crowd with three home runs

It had only happened twice before at Coca Cola Field, downtown Buffalo’s ballpark, once courtesy of Jeff Manto and the second off the bat of Dusty Wathan.

Tonight Valentino Pascucci hit three home runs in four at bats, leading the Buffalo Bisons to a 6-4 win over the Indianapolis Indians, before a huge Fridaynightbash crowd of over 13,000 fans.

Pascucci’s performance overshadowed the starting pitching of Mets star John Maine, who is in Buffalo on a rehabilitation assignment. Maine only allowed one hit and struck out four in 4 1/3 innings of work.

Buffalo was in control of this game early on, taking a 5-1 lead, but then got into jams in the 7th and 8th innings. Indianapolis left the bases loaded in the 7th, then got back into it with 3 runs in the 8th. Pascucci’s solo homer in the 8th gave the Bisons some breathing room, then the team sealed it in the 9th with a double play and a ground out.

“That was huge. This was a good time to get Val in there and we’ll have him in there tomorrow night too,” said a beaming Ken Oberkfell after the game. Oberkfell didn’t remember the night back in 2008 when Pascucci hit three home runs for him back in New Orleans. “I remember when he hit a lot of home runs against me when he was in Albuquerque,” Oberkfell said.

The three dingers gave Pascucci 200 career minor league home runs. “I was glad to get that. To get that 200 sure it was nice, said Pascucci. “After I hit that second one I wanted to get the third one. I think I did one before with the Mets back in 2008, and what better a time to do it here with a packed house. This was the time to do it.”

As for John Maine, his rehab stint has not been without controversy, and once he lands back up in New York, there may not be room for him in their starting rotation. “I know it sounds like a cliche, but I just want to pitch and help the team in any way I can,” said Maine as he addressed the media while the Bisons game was still in progress. Maine was a bit critical of the umpires. “I walked a couple guys i shouldn’t have walked and threw a bit too many pitches,” said Maine while questioning the size of the strike zone in tonight’s game. Maine might be getting one more start here with Buffalo before returning to the Mets, but seemed perturbed when asked how he feels about that. “I’ve got no thought on that. I have no say in that. Whatever they say is what goes.”

Despite Maine’s lack of speed on his fastball, Oberkfell was non committal as to his need for continued work at the AAA level. “It’s hard to say. Just depends on location and how he locates pitches at the major league level. When he’s on he’s pretty tough. I wasn’t worried so much about his velocity but rather if he was free and loose. He was throwing easy and I was fine with that.”

Two more games on this homestand – the Bisons are home Saturday at 7PM and Sunday at 1PM against these same Indianapolis Indians before hitting the road.