Photo: William Lofton/Gwinnett Braves Gwinnett Braves starting pitcher Yohan Flande follows through on a pitch Tuesday night against the Buffalo Bison.
LAWRENCEVILLE -- Yohan Flande found his groove and Joey Terdoslavich's 18th homer of the year proved to be the decisive run as the Gwinnett Braves beat Buffalo 4-3 on Tuesday.
Flande was 0-2 with a 14.73 ERA in his previous four outings, but held the Bison at bay for 6 solid innings and gave way to the rehabbing Luis Ayala in the seventh.
All of Buffalo's runs came off homers by former G-Brave Mauro Gomez.
Flande and Ayala each gave up one to the International League's leading home-run hitter before Cory Rasmus closed out the ninth for his eighth save of the season.
"Flande did a great job," said catcher Matt Pagnozzi, who was 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI. "He was aggressive, attacked the zone, threw a lot of strikes and kept the ball down. A lot of good things happen when you have that combination."
Terdoslavich had the big swing, but it was the bottom of the order that carried Gwinnett (35-45). The Nos. 6-9 hitters -- Phil Gosselin, Joe Leonard, Pagnozzi and Sean Kazmar -- were a collective 8-for-11 with two runs and two RBIs against Buffalo starter Justin Germano.
"It was nice to get some production from those guys because we've been relying on the guys at the top," manager Randy Ready said. "The table was set and they kept the line moving and came up with some big hits.
"They were all real resilient tonight. We could have let it get away from us -- even in the ninth. Pag makes a great block and throw to third to erase that tying run and then the long fly ball, we make the catch (to end it)."
The G-Braves have won seven of their last eight after having six-game winning streak snapped in the nightcap of a doubleheader Sunday.
"We had some low points in the season early on and right now I think we're playing some good baseball," Pagnozzi said. "We're playing as a team and we're having a lot of fun doing so."
Flande and Germano were zipping through batters, throwing strikes and inducing fairly routine outs for four innings.
Five times the teams went down in order and the only real threat came courtesy of a double from Kazmar. But the G-Braves stranded Kazmar and Pagnozzi in scoring position in the third.
Germano struck out Jose Constanza and Todd Cunningham flew out to left to end the inning.
"(The starters) were both pretty good," Ready said. "They were both rolling along. Germano was mixing all his pitches and he had a good curve ball tonight. He stayed out of the heart of the plate."
Gwinnett finally got to the Bisons' opening day starter in the fifth, stringing together four hits and scoring two runs.
Gosselin led off with a bunt single before Buffalo right fielder Moises Sierra robbed Leonard with a diving stab for the first out.
Pagnozzi ripped a single to right and Kazmar, in the No. 9 hole, smashed an RBI single into left. Constanza followed that with a line-drive double to right that brought Pagnozzi home for a 2-0 lead.
"We faced him last week out in Buffalo and he did a good job against us," Pagnozzi said. "We knew what to expect coming into this game and it's just a matter of getting some good pitches to hit."
But Flande, who settled down after giving up a double to start the game, showed some cracks in the next half inning. Flande issued the first walk of the game and Gomez launched his league-leading 22nd homer of the year over the wall to tie it 2-2.
"He's got real sock," Ready said. "If you make a mistake, he'll make you pay."
Gwinnett answered, scratching out a go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth with more good work from the lower part of the order.
Gosselin, Leonard and Pagnozzi rapped out three straight singles, the last of which scored Gosselin for a 3-2 lead.
The Bisons threatened to erase that lead, too, in the seventh with two, two-out hits off Flande. But Ayala, after a walk to load the bases, tipped a comebacker that was scooped up by Kazmar at short. Kazmar stepped on second for the third out and preserved the narrow advantage.
Terdoslavich gave Gwinnett a little more breathing room, teeing off of an 0-2 pitch from reliever Mickey Storey for a 4-2 lead on his 18th home run of the season.
The G-Braves needed it. Gomez blasted his second homer of the day, the first run allowed by Ayala in his rehab stint, to make it a 4-3 game in the eighth.
But Ayala recovered to closed out the inning with no further damage and Rasmus shut the door in the ninth.
"Raz was pretty good," Ready said. "He's been missing and falling behind guys, but I thought he attacked and used all his pitches and was very efficient."