Posted: Wednesday, April 29th 2009 at 10:54pm
Gwinnett wins third straight, holds off Norfolk
By staff reports
NORFOLK, Va. -- The Gwinnett Braves used a four-run sixth inning and held on late to defeat the Norfolk Tides 8-6 on Wednesday night at Harbor Park in Norfolk, Va.
With their third-straight win, the G-Braves improve to 8-12 on the season while the Tides fall to 11-7.
Braves center fielder Gregor Blanco smashed a third-inning home run to give Gwinnett an early 2-0 lead. Also scoring on the Blanco homer was shortstop Antonio Perez, who kept the inning alive with a two-out free pass from Tides’ starter Rich Hill. It was Blanco’s first home run of the season.
The Tides got one back in the bottom of the third inning when their center fielder Justin Christian went deep off of G-Braves’ starter Todd Redmond. The solo home run was his first of the year and made it a 2-1 game.
Gwinnett scored four insurance runs in the sixth inning. G-Braves’ catcher Alvin Colina cleared the bases with a three-run double to left field. The next batter, outfielder Reid Gorecki capped the inning when he plated Colina to put Gwinnett up 6-1.
With a pair of doubles in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Tides pulled to within three runs of Gwinnett. Norfolk designated hitter Robby Hammock connected for the second double of the inning that scored outfielders Nolan Reimold and Jeff Fiorentino and cut the G-Braves lead to 6-3.
In the top of the seventh inning, first baseman Barbaro Canizares pushed the Gwinnett lead back to four runs with his RBI double to right that scored Blanco. Blanco’s run put the G-Braves ahead 7-3.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Norfolk catcher Matt Wieters singled home center fielder Justin Christian, who had reached earlier on a double to left field to make it a 7-4 ball game. After loading the bases, Gwinnett reliever Francisley Bueno got out of the seventh-inning jam by retiring Hammock on a fly ball to center.
Norfolk scored two more times in the bottom of the eighth. With two out, Tides’ first baseman Oscar Salazar singled home second baseman Carlos Rojas and Christian to make it a 7-6 game.
But G-Braves’ third baseman Van Pope put his team back up by two with a RBI single in the top of the ninth. Pope drove in Barton, who also singled in the ninth. Barton’s run gave the G-Braves an 8-6 advantage.
G-Braves starter Todd Redmond allowed just one earned run on three hits in five innings to earn his first Triple-A victory. Redmond is now 1-1 with a 3.32 ERA in four starts with Gwinnett. Gregor Blanco, Barbaro Canizares and Alvin Colina each had two hits to pace the Gwinnett offense. Colina, who was 2-for-4, drove in three of the G-Braves eight runs.
Gwinnett heads north for a four-game series with the Pawtucket Red Sox. The Braves will send righthander Tommy Hanson (0-3, 2.18 ERA) to the mound to battle Pawtucket righty Charlie Zink (0-2, 4.96 ERA) in the series opener. It is the first series against a team outside the International League South Division.
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