Sean Smith was nearly perfect for Buffalo, but there were too many innings in the game to keep Richmond off the scoreboard.
The Braves scored two runs in the seventh, an inning after the Herd starter completed his outstanding performance, to edge the Bisons 2-1 on Thursday afternoon. Richmond had just five hits, but four of them came in the one frame to hand Buffalo their fifth loss in the last six games.
The Bisons will now return to Western New York for the 2008 Home Opener on Friday, April 11 against the Toledo Mud Hens (6:05 p.m.).
Smith was dominating on the mound for the Herd. He retired the first 12 batters of the game and faced just one more than the minimum over six innings. He struck out five and started a unique doubleplay the only time he was threatened.
Richmond's Joe Borchard walked to lead off the fifth inning and advanced to third when Reggie Taylor singled for the only hit off of Smith. But the Bisons' veteran pitcher and his defense executed the perfect "fake-to-third, throw-to-first" play to get out of the jam.
Smith caught Taylor leaning off of first base, and Jordan Brown threw the ball to second to record the first out. Bisons' shortstop Danny Sandoval applied the tag on Taylor before nailing Borchard at the plate trying to score from third.
That played held the Braves off the board and the Bisons took a 1-0 lead in the sixth when Andy Gonzalez drew a bases-loaded walk. But with Smith leaving after six, Richmond was able to plate two off of Scott Elarton (0-1) in the seventh inning. Scott Thorman's two-run single proved to be all the offense the Braves needed for the win.
BISONS NOTES: Andy Gonzalez did not collect a hit in three trips to the plate. It's the first game in 2008 he has been held hitless. Gonzalez did walk, so now he (7 games), Josh Barfield (8 games), Ryan Mulhern (7 games) and Jason Cooper (5 games) have reached base safely in all the games they've played this year...Jason Tyner pinch ran and stole a base in the eighth. It was just Buffalo's second steal on the season.