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BISONS LOSE UGLY TO BRAVES

Yuk.

That's a simple way way to describe the Buffalo Bisons' ugliest performance of the season.

The Richmond Braves scored six runs over the final three innings Thursday night to pull away for a 13-7 victory over the Herd in an ultra-sloppy opener to a four-game series in Dunn Tire Park.

The teams combined for 27 hits, six errors and three wild pitches in the 3-hour, 23-minute slopfest. The remnants of an announced crowd of 6,139 saw Richmond catcher Johnny Estrada snap a 7-7 tie with a two-run homer into the bleachers in right in the seventh off Herd reliever Dan Miceli (0-1). The R-Braves turned it into a rout with four runs in the ninth off Carl Sadler, sent down earlier in the day from Cleveland.

It was an atypical performance for the Herd, which gave up its most runs and hits this season and also committed a season-high three errors. Manager Marty Brown said he simply wants to chalk this one up to the long grind of the 144-game schedule.

"Everybody has one of those games a year. I hope that's the only one we have," Brown said.

The Buffalo pitching staff -- which had given up just 10 runs over the last six games -- was torched for 17 Richmond hits. Ten went for extra bases as the Braves belted four homers and collected six doubles.

The visitors did it all without slugging first baseman Mike Hesseman, who went on the disabled list with a high ankle sprain suffered Tuesday at Syracuse. Hesseman was leading the R-Braves in both homers (six) and RBIs (27).

Buffalo starter Jason Stanford battled through six innings, leaving in a 7-7 tie and keeping his undefeated record intact at 5-0. He was trailing, 5-1, before the Herd roared back with a four-run second.

"I really feel when we score seven runs, we should win every game," Stanford said. "It was one of those nights where things just kind of snowballed. We had a couple days off (due to Tuesday's rainout against Indianapolis and an off day) and I hadn't thrown in seven days, but none of us made plays."

Shortstop Jhonny Peralta led the Buffalo attack with a 4-for-5 night. The Bisons had 10 hits, but only three came after the third inning.

The Bisons took a quick lead in the bottom of the first on Coco Crisp's leadoff home run to right, his first of the season. Richmond responded with five runs off Stanford before the Buffalo pitcher got an out in the top of the second.

Stanford's error on Travis Wilson's sacrifice bunt set up the inning and Nick Green's three-run homer to left was the capper. The Bisons, however, responded with four runs in the bottom of the inning.

It was an ugly frame that saw Richmond starter Chris Fussell issue a bases-loaded walk to No. 9 hitter Scott Pratt and uncork two wild pitches to push Luis Garcia home from second with the tying run.

The Braves scored an unearned run in the third thanks to a Pratt error but Buffalo scored twice in the bottom of the inning on RBI singles by Alex Escobar and Peralta. Richmond tied it, 7-7, in the the fourth on a leadoff homer by No. 9 hitter Damon Hollins.

"I tried to battle," Stanford said. "It was crazy. I just tried to keep my composure and keep us in the ballgame. When we tied it up, it was a new game and then I went out there after we took the lead and I give up that home run (to Hollins).

"It was a change-up I left up and he crushed it. Guys up here don't miss mistakes and that's what that was. We made a lot of them and it showed all night."
Cleveland officially added rehabbing Buffalo pitcher Jason Bere to its roster Thursday and Bere started and pitched 5 2/3 innings for the Tribe against Detroit. To make room for Bere, Jake Westbrook was moved from the rotation to the bullpen and Sadler (0-0, 1.86 ERA but .306 opponents batting average) was optioned to Buffalo. . . . Buffalo third baseman Greg LaRocca pinch hit to lead off the eighth and flied out in his return to action just three days after being struck in the face by a pitch. . . . Reliever Jerrod Riggan, designated for assignment by the Indians earlier this week, cleared waivers but declined to accept another trip to Buffalo and has opted for free agency. . . . East Aurora's Don Goller, in his third year as an IL umpire, made his first appearance of the season in his hometown as he worked the plate. . . . The series continues tonight at 7 (Radio 1520 AM) as Buffalo's Mike Fyhrie (1-4) pitches against John Ennis (2-3).

e-mail: mharrington@buffnews.com

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