LAWRENCEIVLLE, GA – Emilio Bonifacio and Mel Rojas Jr. each homered and the Gwinnett Braves (58-72) pounced early in an 8-4 victory over the Buffalo Bisons (64-67) on Tuesday night at Coolray Field.
The G-Braves remain a half-game behind Charlotte (59-72) for first place in the International League South Division. The Knights defeated Durham 3-2 in 10 innings on Tuesday night.
After falling behind 2-0 on a two-run double by Jesus Montero in the top of the first inning, the G-Braves got the runs right back on an RBI double by Rio Ruiz and an RBI single by Sean Kazmar Jr. in the bottom of the first.
An inning later, Bonifacio crushed a three-run homer into the Bisons’ bullpen down the right-field line to put Gwinnett ahead for good. Bonifacio’s blast off Buffalo starter Mike Bolsinger (L, 1-3) was his first homer since June 15 at Lehigh Valley.
In the third, Blake Lalli doubled and Rojas Jr. blasted a two-run homer onto the berm in right for his ninth round-tripper of the season.
After a rough start, Aaron Blair (W, 5-4) managed to get through 5.0 innings and pick up the win for Gwinnett. The right-hander allowed three runs on six hits and four walks while striking out three. Casey Kotchman led off the fourth with a solo homer off Blair, who threw 45 of his 80 pitches for strikes.
Jason Hursh, Brandon Cunniff and Shae Simmons finished it off for Gwinnett, tossing the final 4.0 innings in relief. Buffalo picked up a run in the seventh off Hursh, ending his 29-inning minor-league scoreless streak dating back to June 23 with Double-A Mississippi.
Brandon Snyder provided the G-Braves’ final run with an RBI double in the sixth, plating Reid Brignac who had also doubled.
Kazmar Jr., Snyder and Rojas Jr. each had two hits for Gwinnett, which had 11 in the game and went 5-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
Montero had two of Buffalo’s 11 hits and knocked in a pair of runs and Andy Burns went 2-for-4 for the Bisons, who were just 3-for-14 with runners in scoring positions and left 13 men on base.
Bolsinger was charged with seven runs (six earned) in 2.2 innings while walking three. The G-Braves added a run against reliever Jason Berken, who went 3.1 innings out of Buffalo’s bullpen.
The G-Braves continue the three-game series against the Buffalo Bisons at 7:05 p.m. on Wednesday night at Coolray Field. Right-hander Matt Wisler (2-1, 3.71) is scheduled to start for Gwinnett against righty Casey Lawrence (4-4, 3.65) for Buffalo. Tony Schiavone will have the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM at 6:35 p.m.
Tickets for Wednesday’s game are on sale now at the Coolray Field Ticket Office, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets to purchase.