BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Bisons opened an early lead and held off a ninth-inning comeback by the Gwinnett Braves for a 5-4 win Monday night in Game 1 of the four-game series at Coca-Cola Field In Buffalo.
The G-Braves (28-44) faced former teammate Todd Redmond, who was a member of the Gwinnett starting rotation for most of the past four years, and early on, the Braves did not have an answer for the right-hander.
Redmond got an early boost, as the Bisons (36-33) edged ahead with an unearned run in the bottom of the second. Moises Sierra led off with a single to center off of G-Braves starter Omar Poveda (L, 5-4). After a wild pitch moved Sierra to second, Andy LaRoche hit a hard ground ball to third that was stopped by Gwinnett’s Alden Carrithers. However, his throw to first got by Ernesto Mejia allowing Sierra to score from second for a 1-0 Buffalo lead.
In the top of the third, the Braves jumped out ahead. Carrithers led off with a single to center off of Redmond (W, 2-1) and stole second. Paul Janish walked, and with one out, Jose Constanza singled to right to load the bases. Todd Cunningham then stroked a single to left scoring both Carrithers and Janish for a 2-1 Gwinnett lead. However, the G-Braves ran themselves out of a greater inning, as Constanza was caught in a rundown and tagged out at third, while Cunningham was also caught in a run down and tagged out at second. The bizarre double play ended the G-Braves threat.
The play ended up costing the Braves, as the Bisons regained the lead in the bottom half. Bisons’ Anthony Gose led off with a single and moved to second on a passed ball. Jim Negrych walked, and after one out, Luis Jimenez double to left scoring Gose to tie the game at 2-2. Sierra then plated Negrych with a ground ball to short for a 3-2 Buffalo lead.
The Bisons upped the lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the sixth as Andy LaRoche greeted Poveda with a solo homer to left.
The lead climbed to 5-2 in the bottom of the eighth, as Gwinnett reliever Ryan Buchter walked the bases loaded and gave up a sac fly to Negrych with one out.
The G-Braves made a charge in the top of the ninth inning. Reliever John Stilson walked Constanza to lead off the inning and Cunningham followed with a single. A wild pitch by Stilson moved the runners to second and third. Tyler Pastornicky grounded out to second scoring Constanza from third to make it 5-3, while Mejia grounded out to short scoring Cunningham to close the gap to 5-4. Joey Terdoslavich then lined out to deep left to end the game.
Poveda worked 7.0 innings in the loss. He gave up nine hits and three earned runs. He walked three and struck out five. Buchter went 0.2 of an inning with one earned run and three walks.
Redmond was the victor, going 6.0 innings, scattering five hits, allowing two earned runs, one walk and recording three strikeouts. Stilson (S, 2) worked the ninth, allowing two runs on one hit to record his second save of the season.
At the plate for Gwinnett, Constanza, Cunningham and Terdoslavich each had two hits.
For the Bisons, Gose, Negrych and Sierra each had two hits.
The Braves and Bisons continue the four-game series Tuesday night in Buffalo. The Gwinnett starting pitcher is to be announced. Right-hander Dave Bush (7-4, 4.23) gets the start for the Bisons, the Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.