(bisons.com)-The Bisons hit three home runs and avoided a ninth-inning comeback to split the four-game series Sunday, beating Indianapolis 6-5.
Designated hitter Luis Jimenez hit his team-leading 10th home run in the fifth inning to add to the Bisons 4-2 lead. It was Jimenez' 44th RBI, which is first in the International League.
First baseman Mauro Gomez and catcher Josh Thole hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning to give the Bisons an early 3-0 lead. Gomez hit a two-run home run on a 3-2 count for his eighth of the year. Thole followed that up with a solo shot in almost the exact same spot in left-center field, for his sixth homer of the season.
Indy starter Brooks Brown walked Mike McCoy three batters later with the bases loaded and the Bisons led 4-0 after the first.
"We've got he ability up and down the order really, to hit some home runs," said Bisons manager Marty Brown. "...which is nice if you're down you can get back in the game pretty quick, but we don't rely on the home run necessarily."
Jimenez jumped on the second pitch of the at-bat in the fifth and said he had a good feel for what Brooks Brown was doing.
"We try to go against them right away," Jimenez said. "We try to jump in the beginning of the count because they try to jump on their strikes a lot. So, that's what you need to focus on. We did very good in the first couple innings."
Buffalo has the most home runs of any team in the league with 56 and also rank third in runs scored with 258 on the season.
Jimenez attributed the team's offensive success to being comfortable around each other and doing the little things to compete.
"This team is a team where everybody is comfortable. Everybody likes each other," Jimenez said. "We talk about pitchers. We talk about the little things to make adjustments. We've been doing great. We've been performing in the right way. Right now we have so many guys that listen to each other and that's how we've been doing good."
The Bisons got a good outing out of starter Dave Bush, who got his fifth win of the season. Bush threw five innings, allowing just two runs on five hits. It was Bush's ninth start and tenth appearance on the season.
"Starting pitching... they're the ones that set the tone," said Bisons manager Marty Brown. "Dave Bush did a good job and gave us some zeroes early after the four runs and made some pitches. He did a great job today getting through five. He kept the ball down, when he did get it up you saw what happened. Hopefully we can get some good starts in this next series."
Brown was forced to use closer Neil Wagner with two outs in the ninth. He allowed a single up the middle to Alex Presley, scoring Chase D'Arnaud who was on second after hitting a double. Indy was down just one run. But, Wagner got Felix Pie to fly out earning his 13th save of the season and second in as many days.
Reliever Buddy Carlyle gave the Bisons another solid outing. He threw two innings, striking out three and walking one. Michael Schwimer came in for the eighth inning and struck out three of four hitters, while Mickey Storey came in to start the ninth, but allowed two hits and one walk, including a 2-RBI double that cut the Bisons lead to 6-4 late.
Buffalo relievers had been dominant in the series until then, allowing just six hits in over 18 innings of work against Indy in the series.
Second basemen Jim Negrych hit an RBI single that snuck past Indy shortstop Chase D'Arnaud to give the Bisons a 6-2 lead in the sixth. It was the Buffalo native's 24th RBI on the year.
The Bisons open a series at Durham Monday evening. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 pm.