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AFTER TWO STINKERS, HERD RIGHTS SHIP

The Buffalo Bisons were a sight for sore eyes Thursday night.

Manager Eric Wedge was pleased with the finishing kick of Jaret Wright, the stellar relief of Jamie Walker and David Riske and the balance of a 12-hit attack that produced a 7-4 win over the Indianapolis Indians at Dunn Tire Park.

Wedge hopes he sees an even clearer picture of his team shaking its recent doldrums when its eight-game homestand ends tonight. The 33-year-old Herd skipper, who has worn glasses or contact lenses since fourth grade, underwent laser eye surgery Thursday morning. He's been preparing for the surgery with drops in the eyes for the last couple days, so hitting coach Jack Mull has been coaching third base in his place.

Wedge spent much of Thursday, including postgame interviews, wearing dark glasses to shield his eyes from bright light. And yes, he heard plenty of clubhouse jokes about Darth Vader and the Lone Ranger.

"I feel fine," he said. "I can't wait to see how things feel (today). I'm hoping it will be as unbelievable, as I hear it can be."

Things had been pretty unbelievable in the first two games of this series as Indianapolis had scored 22 runs in a pair of blowouts. Wednesday's 14-10 loss, a game that saw the Bisons in a 13-3 hole in the fifth, was one of Buffalo's ugliest performances of the year. It was certainly one Wedge wished he hadn't seen clearly.

"But that's the best thing about baseball," he said. "You don't have to wait for a week or two or three days. You come out here the next day, clear your mind and go at it again."

Buffalo did that Thursday, wiping out a 3-1 deficit. Anthony Medrano's two-run single in the third tied the game, Dave Roberts' RBI triple in the fourth gave the Herd a 4-3 lead and Karim Garcia's three-run homer into the bleachers in right -- his fourth in the last five games -- made the margin a comfortable 7-3 in the fifth. Medrano and Greg LaRocca had three hits apiece.

A crowd of 7,094 saw Wright, in his first outing since last week's demotion from Cleveland, need 60 pitches to get through three innings. But he retired seven of the final eight hitters he faced and got the win to improve to 3-0 with the Bisons this season.

Wright allowed three runs on six hits, struck out four and walked just one. He
was generally happy with the outing, considering he had not pitched since the Indians' rain-shortened win over Minnesota last Thursday.

"Warming up, it felt OK," Wright said of his surgically repaired shoulder. "I went five (innings) and I would have liked to go longer but for the first one back here, it was all right."

Wright, coming off surgery last August, won his two injury rehab starts for the Bisons in May. He was 2-2 with a 6.52 ERA in seven outings in Cleveland and said he understood why the Tribe felt his comeback needed more polishing.

"It's tough to say anything when you're not pitching good," Wright admitted. "You've got to produce and I wasn't producing. . . . I had surgery, and it's not 100 percent every time I go out there. You want to get it as close to that as you can and it takes work."

Walker and Riske pitched two solid innings apiece in relief of Wright. Riske struck out the final four Indianapolis batters.
It's the eighth time this year the Bisons had a two-game losing streak but prevented it from going to three. Buffalo is the only minor-league team yet to lose three games in a row this season. . . . Indy leadoff man Alex Sanchez grounded out leading off the first, snapping his string of eight consecutive hits. He finished 2 for 5 and is 10 for 13 in the series. . . . Buffalo lefty Mark Watson was sent down to Double-A Akron to make room for Riske. . . . Buffalo pitching coach Carl Willis left the team Thursday to head for Minneapolis to attend this weekend's 10-year reunion of the 1991 World Series champion Minnesota Twins. Willis was a set-up reliever on that team. . . . Buffalo's Dan Smith (0-2) pitches tonight (7:30, Radio 1520) against Indy's Carlos Chantres (4-4).

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