SYRACUSE N.Y. -- The Empire State Yankees broke a tie with two runs in the bottom of the eighth and walked away with a 3-1 win Tuesday night at Frontier Field in the opener of the four-game series. The loss is the 11th in a row for the G-Braves, as they have now lost 23 of their last 28 games.
The G-Braves again had plenty of chances to score in this game, but could not capitalize. In the top of the second, Ernesto Mejia led off with a double to left off Yankees' starter D.J. Mitchell, but was stranded at second as the inning ended. In the top of the third, Josh Wilson hammered a one-out triple to left, his first of the season, but the G-Braves couldn't push him across.
The Yankees broke the scoreless tie with an unearned run off Gwinnett starter Todd Redmond in the bottom of the fourth. Corban Joseph dropped a bloop double to center and moved to third on a passed ball off the mitt of catcher Jose Yepez. With the G-Braves infield drawn in, Ronnier Mustelier grounded out to second, scoring Joseph from third for a 1-0 lead.
Gwinnett tied the game in the top of the sixth as Jose Constanza led off with a single and was bunted to second by Luis Durango. Tyler Pastornicky walked and with two outs, Felix Pie delivered a single to right to score Constanza from second to knot the game, 1-1.
It stayed that way until the bottom of the eighth when Jaye Chapman began the inning on the mound in relief of Redmond. He gave up a leadoff single to Ramiro Pena, then walked Chris Dickerson and Joseph to load the bases. Chapman then struck out Mustelier for the second out of the inning and gave way to Dusty Hughes who entered to face Russell Branyan. On a 1-2 pitch, Branyan singled to right scoring both Pena and Dickerson for a 3-1 lead.
The G-Braves put two on in the top of the ninth on back-to-back singles, but could not get the big hit.
Redmond gave the G-Braves another quality start working seven innings, giving up three hits, one unearned run and he walked three and struck out five. Chapman (L, 2-4) worked 0.2 of an inning and allowed one hit, two earned runs, two walks and struck out one, while Hughes was credited for 0.1 of an inning and surrendered one hit.
Mitchell also had a quality start for the Yankees, working seven innings, giving up five hits, one earned run, while he walked two and struck out six. Former Brookwood High School star Jason Bulger (W, 2-0) worked one inning of relief for the win, as he allowed one hit and struck out one. Ryota Igarashi (S, 2) worked a scoreless ninth with two hits and one strikeout.
Durango went 2-for-3 at the plate to lead the G-Braves and Ruben Gotay, Constanza, Mejia, Pie, Yepez and Wilson had rest of the team's eight hits. The double by Mejia in the second was his 20th of the season and his 87th hit to lead the team in both categories.
Joseph went 3-for-3 on the night for the Yankees and Branyan had two RBIs on a 1-for-4 night.
The Gwinnett Braves (37-43) play the Empire State Yankees (42-37) in game two of the four-game series Wednesday night in Rochester. The G-Braves will have southpaw Yohan Flande (3-6, 3.87) on the mound against the Yankees right-hander Ramon Ortiz (6-3, 2.98) in a 7 p.m. scheduled first pitch at Frontier Field. Listen to the broadcast on WDUN AM 550 in Gainesville with Tony Schiavone calling the play by play.