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Rare power surge lifts G-Braves to win

LAWRENCEVILLE -- With a total of 62 home runs as a team, Gwinnett's lineup, in any iteration this season, doesn't conjure up the image of balls flying out of the park.

The G-Braves entered Thursday's game 11th out of 14 teams in the International League in long balls this season, but against the Bison the power surged in a 7-5 win.

And from some unlikely sources.

Ernesto Mejia opened the top of the second with his 19th home run of the season, a no-doubter over the retaining wall in left field. He remains in second in the IL in home runs behind Bison third baseman and former Gwinnett Brave Ernesto Mejia. The two homers that followed didn't come from sluggers.

Alden Carrithers smacked a two-run home run to the right field bullpen in the fourth and Luis Nunez hit a solo shot in the sixth. It was Carrithers' second homer of the season, tying a career high for long balls in a season at any level for the 5-foot-9, 165 pound infielder. Nunez's homer was his second with the G-Braves and third overall this year.

"You could feel (the home runs) kind of take the wind out of their sail," manager Randy Ready said.

The offensive output helped give starting pitcher Joe Bisenius his second win in as many starts for Gwinnett since signing with the Braves from the the independent Lincoln Saltdogs. The right-hander allowed one run off seven hits over six innings pitched. He struck out four and walked just one, throwing 60 of his 88 pitches for strikes.

"(A lead) allows you to go right at guys," Bisenius said. "It makes it a lot nicer on a starting pitcher."

After Mejia's solo shot in the second, Buffalo tied the game in the third on an RBI double by Kevin Pillar that scored Munenori Kawasaki. It was Pillar's sixth double of the series after he set a Buffalo record with four doubles the night before. He has seven doubles this season, in six games, since joining Buffalo.

But that was all Buffalo would get off Bisenius, stranding at least one runner in six innings, including leaving the bases loaded in the fifth.

"You never want the bases loaded with their best hitter come up in (Luis) Jimenez," said Bisenius, who came out in the sixths and ended his outing with a strikeout. "You almost have a little momentum when you dodge a bullet like that in the fifth."

Carrithers' homer capped a three-run fourth inning that included an RBI single by Brandon Boggs. The next inning, the G-Braves added two more runs in the fifth when Stefan Gartrell smacked a two-RBI single with two outs and the bases loaded into left field. The hit scored Todd Cunningham who led the inning off with a single and stole second and third bases and Joey Terdoslavich. Terdoslavich reached one of two Dave Bush walks in the inning. Cunningham, Terdoslavich, Gartrell and Nunez all had two hits for the G-Braves.

"We hit the three home runs, but I liked what we did in the middle innings," Ready said. "We kept the line moving. That is a crucial part of the game."

Rehabbing Atlanta Braves reliever Luis Ayala, on the disabled list with an anxiety disorder stemming from low blood pressure, allowed one hit in a scoreless seventh and Juan Cedeno walked a batter in his scoreless innings.

Cole McCurry came on in the ninth and found trouble with two outs allowing a hit and a double before giving up back-to-back home runs as Buffalo got in the long-ball action. Gomez added to his league lead with his 24th homer, a rocket to left field and Luis Jimenez followed with a blast to center field as Buffalo climbed within two runs. McCurry struck out Moises Sierra to end the game.