Posted: Sunday, July 15th 2012 at 5:58am
Walk-off HR dooms G-Braves in Louisvlle
LOUISVILLE, KY. -- Louisville Bats’ catcher Dioner Navarro hit a walk-off grand slam off Gwinnett pitcher Buddy Carlyle in the bottom of the ninth as the Bats came back to beat the Gwinnett Braves 10-8 in game three of the four-game series at Louisville Slugger Field on Saturday night.
The bottom of the ninth proved fatal for the Braves bullpen, as Jaye Chapman who was working his third inning of relief gave up a one-out double to Costanzo and walked Denis Phipps to put two on. After a run-saving catch in right by Parraz recorded the second out, Chapman walked pinch-hitter Corky Miller to load the bases and then walked Soto to push across Costanzo to make it 8-6. Buddy Carlyle came in from the G-Braves’ bullpen and Navarro (4) followed with a grand slam to right to end the game. Gwinnett disputed whether the ball hit by Navarro actually cleared the fence, but after much discussion by the umpires, the grand slam call stood.
The G-Braves took an early lead in the game, scoring two in the top of the first. Jose Constanza led off the game with a single to extend his G-Braves record hitting streak to 17 games. Constanza then scored on a double to left center by Josh Wilson for a 1-0 lead. Wilson moved to third on a groundout by Felix Pie and scored when Louisville shortstop Didi Gregorius committed a throwing error on a ball hit by Jordan Parraz.
Louisville took the lead in the bottom of the second as Neftali Soto led off with a double off G-Braves starter Julio Teheran. Navarro walked and Xavier Paul (9) ripped a three run homer to right to put the Bats up 3-2. Teheran worked 6.2 innings, giving up eight hits and four earned runs. He walked one and struckout five. Chapman (L, 3-5) went two innings with one hit, four earned runs, three walks and three strikeouts. Carlyle was credited with no innings pitched with one hit and one earned run.
In the top of the third, a solo blast from Ernesto Mejia (18) tied the game at 3-3. The homer by Mejia was his team-leading 61st RBI and his 100th hit of the season.
In the top of the fourth, Jose Yepez (3) led off with a solo homer off Louisville starter Chad Reineke to give Gwinnett a 4-3 lead. Lance Zawadzki followed with a triple to left and scored on single by Teheran for a 5-3 lead. Constanza doubled to left putting runners on second and third. The Bats brought in Kanekoa Texeira from the bullpen to pitch, and Pie greeted him with a single to center scoring both Teheran and Constanza for a 7-3 Gwinnett lead.
The four-run lead held up until the bottom of the seven, as Cody Puckett led off with a double off Teheran and moved to third on a groundout by Mike Costanzo. With two outs, Teheran had apparently got out of the inning without a run with a strikeout of Gregorius, but the final strike got away from Yepez allowing Gregorius to make it safely to first and scored Costanzo from third to cut the lead to 7-4. A throwing error by Teheran on a pickoff attempt moved Gregorius to second and he scored on a double to left by Henry Rodriguez to make it 7-5 Gwinnett.
Gwinnett added a run in the top of the eighth as Constanza led off with an infield single, stole second and moved to third on a fly out to right by Wilson. Pie drove in Constanza with a single to center to up the G-Braves lead to 8-5.
At the plate, Constanza paced the Braves with a 3-for-5 night. Pie, Mejia, Parraz and Yepez each had two hits.
Louisville’s Paul was 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a homerun. Rodriguez went 2-for-4. Navarro’s grand slam was one of his two hits.
The final game of the four-game series in Louisville will be Sunday night at 6:05 p.m. The Gwinnett Braves (44-51) will throw left-hander Jose Lugo (6-5, 4.92) against Louisville (35-60) right-hander Pedro Villarreal (2-6, 3.96). Listen to the broadcast on WDUN AM 550 in Gainesville, Georgia with Tony Schiavone calling the play by play.
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