LAWRENCEVILLE — Behind a late offensive surge and a strong team pitching performance, the Gwinnett Braves salvaged the finale of the three-game series against the Norfolk Tides with a 5-2 win on Wednesday night at Coolray Field.
With the game tied at 1-1 in the seventh, the G-Braves (53-56) broke through against Tides reliever Logan Verrett (L, 2-5). Matt Tuiasosopo, Kade Scivicque and Ronald Acuna hit consecutive RBI singles to put Gwinnett ahead 4-1, and that proved to be more than enough.
For the second straight game, the Tides (50-61) scored in the first inning. Chris Johnson drew a one-out walk from Gwinnett starter Luiz Gohara and came home to score on Pedro Alvarez’s two-out double into the right-center field gap.
Gohara settled down after that, and didn’t give up a run over the rest of his start. With the potential go-ahead run on second with two outs in the sixth, he struck out Luis Sardinas swinging to end the threat, and his outing. Over 6.0 quality innings, the left-hander allowed just one run on five hits while walking one and striking out eight in his Coolray Field debut.
Norfolk starter Gabriel Ynoa was just as good. He pitched four scoreless innings before Gwinnett executed a hit-and-run to perfection in the fifth. With Sean Kazmar Jr. at the plate, Micah Johnson broke for second. Kazmar swung and hit a chopper into the left field corner for an RBI double that tied the game at 1-1. Over 6.0 innings, Ynoa also gave up just one run on three hits while walking one and striking out five.
Rehabbing Atlanta Braves reliever Jason Motte (W, 1-0) entered in relief of Gohara and retired the side in order in the seventh to keep the game tied. Thanks to the three-run rally in the bottom of the seventh, Motte earned his first win at the Triple-A level since July 6, 2008 with Memphis at Omaha.
Matt Wisler made his first relief appearance for Gwinnett this season in the eighth and yielded a run. The G-Braves got it back in the bottom of the eighth on Micah Johnson’s two-out RBI single to right.
In the ninth, Rhiner Cruz (S, 4) gave up two singles but pitched a scoreless inning to finish the win.
For Gwinnett, Kazmar was 3-for-4 with an RBI double and a run scored. Johnson went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs while Scivicque went 1-for-3 with his first career Triple-A RBI.
Norfolk was led by Alvarez, who went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Johnson and Francisco Pena each recorded two hits.
After an off-day on Thursday, the G-Braves will begin a three-game road series against the Charlotte Knights at BB&T Ballpark on Friday night. Gwinnett has yet to officially name a starter while Charlotte will start right-hander Carson Fulmer (7-7, 5.71 ERA).