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G-Braves avoid sweep with walk-off win

POSTED: May 10, 2012 3:20 p.m.

LAWRENCEVILLE – Stefan Gartrell blasted his team-leading sixth home run in the 10th inning Thursday, sending the Gwinnett Braves to a 5-3 walk-off victory over the Buffalo Bisons at Coolray Field. After failing to hold a two-run lead in the ninth inning, the G-Braves bounced back for their fifth last at-bat win of the season in front of 5,293 fans.

Jose Constanza started the 10th-inning rally with a one-out single, then stole second and third base on consecutive pitches from Bisons’ right-hander Fernando Cabrera (L, 2-1). Following a Luis Durango strikeout, Gartrell stepped to the plate with a chance to be the hero. The reigning IL Batter of the Week capitalized on Cabrera’s 2-2 pitch, lifting a towering shot over the bullpen in left field. Gartrell now has 12 RBIs in his last nine games.

Right-hander Cory Gearrin (W, 2-0) earned the win despite failing to close out a 3-1 lead in the ninth. Gearrin blew his first save of the season as he yielded an RBI double to Omar Quintanilla and game-tying RBI single to pinch-hitter Bobby Scales. He’d recover, however, to keep the Bisons off the board in the 10th inning.

The G-Braves took 3-1 lead in the eighth on a two-out, two-run double by Durango. Ernesto Mejia scored easily on Durango’s hit in the right-center gap, and Constanza scored on a fortunate break. Bisons’ right-fielder Valentino Pascucci came home with a well-timed throw, but the ball glanced off Durango’s bat – which was in play – enabling Constanza to cross the plate.

Christian Marrero also homered for Gwinnett, lifting a solo shot to dead center off Bisons’ starter Jeremy Hefner in the fifth inning. Marrero’s second home run of the season gave the G-Braves a 1-0 lead, but Buffalo tied the score an inning later on Pascucci’s RBI single that scored Fred Lewis.

Both starting pitchers were strong in no-decisions. G-Braves Right-hander Todd Redmond tied a career-high with 10 strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings, limiting the Bisons to a run on six hits. Redmond threw 116 pitches, 79 for strikes. Hefner, meanwhile, yielded two runs on four hits over 7 2/3 innings and struck out six.

Constanza (2 for 5, two runs), Durango (2 for 5, double, two RBIs) and Gartrell (2 for 4, HR, two RBIs) all had multi-hit efforts for the International League South Division-leading G-Braves.

Pascucci went 3 for 5 with one RBI, while Quintanilla went 2 for 4 with two doubles and one RBI for Buffalo.

Gwinnett (20-13) begin a five-game series with the Toledo Mud Hens starting with doubleheader action Friday night at Coolray Field. Both games will be seven innings. Game one begins at 5:05 PM and features right-hander Jair Jurrjens (1-0, 1.80) against Toledo left-hander Adam Wilk (2-1, 1.06). Game two’s pitching match-up has yet to be announced.


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