Photo: Karl Moore, Gwinnett Braves Gwinett Braves starter Omar Poveda pitches against Buffalo on Friday at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville
LAWRENCEVILLE -- A close game, suddenly, turned ugly.
Entering the ninth inning, the Gwinnett Braves had kept close with the Bison, surviving one rough inning from starter Omar Poveda and trailed 3-2.
But the second inning from reliever Wirfin Obisbo turned ugly quickly. The right hander, who pitched a perfect eighth, didn't record an out in the ninth with the first four runners reaching base, leading to five runs and a 8-2 Bison win to close out the series with the G-Braves.
"It was a good game until the ninth," manager Randy Ready said. "It kind of got away from us."
Jim Negrych led the inning off with a double and was safe at third on a ground ball to shortstop. Home plate umpire Toby Basner, a Brookwood graduate, ruled Negrych safe at home on a passed ball over the protestations for Obisbo. The reliever walked the next batter and then allowed a second run to score on a sacrifice bunt by catcher Sean Ochinko. Obisbo was charged with an error on the play that allowed Ochinko to reach safely.
Ryan Buchter entered for Obisbo and two more runs scored before the inning ended.
Before Buffalo's bats blew the game open, both sides pitched well.
Stefan Gartrell homered to start the second, his fourth home run of the season and a familiar site for Buffalo starter Todd Redmond. Redmond pitched for the G-Braves from 2009 to 2012 and led the franchise in home runs allowed, giving up 33 home runs at Coolray Field during his time with Gwinnett. But Redmond turned in a strong outing, allowing just two runs off of eight hits, striking out nine.
And he earned his third win of the season when Buffalo took the lead in the third.
After playing with fire in the second inning, putting a runner on third with no outs after a double and a balk and escaping run-free, Poveda couldn't fight the flames in the third. Buffalo peppered the right hander with singles, scoring three runs off five singles. He struggled with his pick-off move in the inning, allowing runners to advance with two throwing errors.
"He was kind of all over the place early, but he settled in," Ready said. "He's been our go-to guy all year and he kept us in the game without his best stuff."
Poveda allowed just one hit over his final four innings. The early runs are typical of Gwinnett's team-leader in starts. After the first four innings, Poveda's ERA dropped from 4.35 to 1.77.
On Friday he pitched seven innings, allowing three runs off of seven hits, walking two and striking out four.
Every run he allowed came in the third. The start was a rebound for Poveda's last outing where he lasted just five innings and allowed five runs.
Gwinnett added a run in the third to make it 3-2 on an RBI single by Luis Nunez to scored Matt Pagnozzi with two outs.
But Redmond and the bullpen of John Stilson and Mickey Storey allowed just one more hit over the final five innings.