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Bueno helps pitching-starved G-Braves to victory

Dave Brundage's meal prior to heading to the airport slipped off the plate as it was brought to his desk at Gwinnett Stadium late Sunday afternoon.

"That's the way things have been going," said the Gwinnett Braves manager, trying to laugh instead of cry.

The G-Braves have gone from having the best starting rotation in the International League to one of the shakiest.

Decimated by call-ups and injuries, Gwinnett hasn't had a starter go more than six innings since May 30 and hasn't had a quality start - at least six innings and no more than three earned runs - since June 2.

But at least things started to turn Brundage's and the G-Braves' way Monday night in Indianapolis.

Moved out of the bullpen, left-hander Francisley Bueno gave the G-Braves quality if not quantity with five scoreless innings as the eight-game road trip opened with a 3-2 victory over Indianapolis.

Tonight the G-Braves (35-30) hope for both quantity and quality from the newest member of the remade rotation and the oldest player on the Class AAA team's roster.

Instead of dipping down to Class AA Mississippi again to find a starter for Gwinnett, Atlanta turned to the independent Atlantic League for 37-year-old former major leaguer John Halama.

Halama, who last pitched in the majors with Baltimore in 2006, was 8-1 with a 2.04 ERA in nine starts for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.

"I'm glad to get him," Brundage said. "He's all stretched out, so he's good to go for 115-120 pitches. We need that."

Halama, a former 14-game winner with Seattle, pitched for seven major league teams and had 56-48 career record.

He was signed by Atlanta on Sunday.

Bueno (4-1) got his first win as a starter, allowing just two hits over five innings against Indianapolis. He walked one, struck out one and hit a batter, throwing 71 pitches.

Bueno left with a 3-0 lead, but the Indians scored twice in the sixth inning off Vladimir Nunez and threatened in the ninth off closer Luis Valdez.

Indianapolis (30-33) got a runner to second base before a strikeout and a long fly ball preserved the win and gave Valdez his 12th save.

The G-Braves are 19-12 on the road compared to 16-18 at Gwinnett Stadium. They were just 2-6 on their last homestand as the starting pitching faltered badly.

Tommy Hanson, Kris Medlen and Charlie Morton are in the majors, James Parr is on the disabled list with elbow problems, Todd Redmond and Tony Armas have been inconsistent, and the young pitchers brought up from Mississippi haven't produced.

"We need people to step up," Brundage said.

"The opportunity is certainly there."

Bueno, who had made 18 relief appearances, stated his case to stay in the rotation against Indianapolis. Tonight, Halama will try to show what he has left at the end of a long career.

SideBar: INSTANT REPLAY

G-Braves 3, Indians 2

· What happened: Gwinnett (35-30) got its road trip off on a good start with a victory at Indianapolis (30-33).

· Star of the game: LHP Francisley Bueno threw five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits.

· Streaking: OF Reid Gorecki extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a run-scoring double.

· Road warriors: Gwinnett is 19-12 in road games, winning the opener of four of its five trips.

· Worth noting: Bueno had a double and scored a run. ... 1B-3B Wes Timmons, who leads the International League in on-base percentage, remains sidelined because of a strained hamstring. ... G-Braves pitchers issued just one walk to the Indians. ... Four of Gwinnett's six hits were doubles.

· On deck: LHP John Halama is scheduled to make his Gwinnett debut today, facing RHP Virgil Vasquez (4-2, 4.40 ERA) in the 7 p.m. game in Indianapolis' Victory Field.