Posted: Saturday, August 10th 2013 at 10:20pm
G-Braves drop second straight
By staff reports
LAWRENCEVILLE -- In front of a season-best crowd of 9,372 at Coolray Field, the Gwinnett Braves were pummeled by the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 9-2 on Saturday night. Jose Constanza went 3-for-5 with a run scored in his first game back with the G-Braves since being optioned by the Atlanta Braves earlier in the day.
The IronPigs knocked around Gwinnett starter Cody Martin (2-4), scoring nine runs on 12 hits against the right-hander. Meanwhile, Lehigh Valley starter Greg Smith (7-2) handcuffed the G-Braves’ offense over 6.0 innings, allowing one run on nine hits and striking out four.
Lehigh Valley (62-60) backed the left-handed Smith early, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Tyler Henson led off with a double and scored on an RBI double by Cameron Rupp. After a one-out walk to Tyson Gillies, Smith advanced both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher Martin. Rupp and Gillies both scored on a passed ball that skipped off of catcher Gerald Laird’s shin guard and went all the way to the third base dugout, making it 3-0.
The G-Braves (51-71) cut into the deficit in the bottom of the third, as Constanza singled to start the frame and scored on an RBI double by Ernesto Mejia, making it 3-1.
The IronPigs kept on hitting, scoring three runs in the fourth and fifth innings. In the top of the fourth, Rupp homered to dead center, while Pete Orr and Freddy Galvis added RBIs with a single and sacrifice fly, respectively. In the top of the fifth, things got out of hand as Derrick Mitchell doubled home Tyler Henson to make it 7-1. Smith then helped his own cause, adding a two-run double to cap Lehigh Valley’s scoring and push the lead to 9-1.
Gwinnett tallied a run in the bottom of the ninth inning, as Matt Pagnozzi and Constanza started the frame with back-to-back singles, and Tyler Pastornicky drove in Pagnozzi with an RBI groundout, making it 9-2.
Martin went 5.0 innings and allowed nine runs, eight earned on 12 hits in his worst start since joining Gwinnett. The bullpen was solid in relief, as Mark Lamm, Ryan Buchter and Wirfin Obispo combined on 4.0 innings of scoreless baseball. Lamm pitched 2.0 innings with one walk and three strikeouts, Buchter added 1.0 inning with one hit and a strikeout and Obispo pitched 1.0 inning with two hits and three strikeouts.
In addition to Constanza’s 3-for-5 game, Mejia also went 2-for-5 with a double and his International League-leading 78th RBI. Laird, playing his second game on a rehab assignment for the Atlanta Braves, went 0-for-3 before exiting after the fifth inning.
Although the IronPigs’ 2-3-4 hitters were held to 1-for-13 on the night, Lehigh Valley still recorded 15 hits. Five players collected multi-hit games, with Henson and Orr each going 3-for-4. Rupp continued to feast on G-Braves pitching, going 2-for-5 with a double, homer and two RBIs on the evening. In two games on the series, he has four extra-base hits.
The Gwinnett Braves and the Lehigh Valley IronPigs resume their four game series on Sunday night at 5:05 PM. Right-hander David Hale (6-6, 2.99) will take the ball for Gwinnett as he will match up against left-hander Adam Morgan (2-5, 3.86) of the IronPigs. The radio broadcast will air on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM, while the television broadcast will air on CSS.
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