Posted: Saturday, June 30th 2012 at 11:57pm
Late Charlotte rally sends Gwinnett to 15th-straight loss
By staff reports
LAWRENCEVILLE -– It was more heartbreak for the struggling Gwinnett Braves in the opener of a four-game series against the Charlotte Knights on Saturday night at Coolray Field.
The Knights broke a 1-1 tie on a passed ball charged to catcher J.C. Boscan in the eighth, then added three more runs in the frame against Cory Gearrin to capture a 5-3 win over the G-Braves. Boscan atoned with a two-run double in the ninth, but couldn’t prevent Gwinnett from extending their franchise-record losing streak to 15 games.
Gearrin entered with the score tied 1-1 in the eighth. He was greeted by a flare single to right-center from Justin Greene and an infield bunt single by Tyler Kuhn.
After a sacrifice bunt by Drew Garcia moved both runners into scoring position, an intentional walk to Dan Johnson loaded the bases. Gearrin struck out Conor Jackson looking and appeared to have struck out Dallas McPherson swinging to escape the jam, but strike three slipped away from Boscan and to the backstop.
Greene raced home from third ahead of an offline throw to the plate, giving Charlotte a 2-1 lead.
Hector Gimenez followed with a single just out of the reach of a leaping Lance Zawadzki at second, scoring both Kuhn and Johnson. Josh Phegley provided further insurance with a single through the right side of the diamond scoring McPherson.
Despite all four of his runs allowed being unearned as a result of the passed ball, Gearrin (3-1) suffered the loss for the first time since April 29, 2011 while a member of the Atlanta Braves. Adam Russell worked the final frame for Gwinnett without further damage.
The G-Braves had one last gasp in the ninth as Boscan’s double to right-center scored Christian Marrero and Zawadzki, but Knights’ left-hander Donnie Veal closed out the game as Jose Constanza lined out to deep center and Tyler Pastornicky struck out looking.
The G-Braves opened up a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third on three-straight two-out singles off Charlotte starter Charlie Shirek. Constanza singled and moved into scoring position on Pastornicky’s base hit through the hole at second. Felix Pie followed with a bouncing single to center scoring Constanza.
The RBI single extended Pie’s hitting streak to 13-straight games, matching Ernesto Mejia for the longest hitting streak on the club this season.
Charlotte, however, tied the score in the next half inning. Starter Eric Junge surrendered his only run of the night, allowing a leadoff walk to Johnson. A wild pitch and passed ball moved Johnson to third, and he’d come home on a one-out single by McPherson.
Junge yielded just a run on four hits over seven innings while striking out five, making his eighth quality start of the season. The outing was his best since throwing seven innings of one-run baseball in a win over the same Charlotte club on April 26 at Coolray Field.
Shirek limited the G-Braves to a run on six hits over six innings while striking out six. Dan Remenowsky (1-0) struck out three over two scoreless innings to get the win in relief.
Constanza led all G-Braves hitters, going 3-for-5 with a run scored out of the leadoff spot. Pastornicky added a 2-for-5 game, while Pie drove in the lone Gwinnett run on 1-for-4 hitting.
Gimenez went 1-for-4 with two RBIs to lead the way for Charlotte. Kuhn went 3-for-5 with a run scored out of the leadoff spot.
Sunday is night two of Braves All-Star Weekend at Coolray Field, presented by Springer Mountain Farms. Former Atlanta Braves greats Dale Murphy and Ryan Klesko will be on hand for special meet-and-greets and autograph opportunities. The first 1,000 fans will receive Gwinnett Braves pennants courtesy of Springer Mountain Farms. It’s also a Family Day at the ballpark including pre-game catch on the field and post-game base run for kids 12 and under.
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