Gwinnett falls in extras to Lehigh Valley
LAWRENCEVILLE, GA - A brilliant start from Matt Wisler wasn't enough for the Gwinnett Braves (47-47) on Tuesday night at Coolray Field, as the bullpen turned a late 2-1 lead over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (59-37) into a 5-3 loss in 10 innings.
Gwinnett relievers Mauricio Cabrera, A.J. Minter and David Peterson each gave up runs in relief of Wisler as the G-Braves let a ninth inning lead slip away for the third straight game.
For the second straight night, the IronPigs got on the board first. With two outs in the second, doubles from Hector Gomez and Herlis Rodriguez put the IronPigs up 1-0. That would prove to be all the offense the visitors could muster off Wisler.
Lehigh Valley starter Ben Lively was strong over the first three innings, but he couldn't hold the lead in the fourth. Jace Peterson led off with a single in his first game since being optioned by Atlanta on Monday. Three batters later, Micah Johnson's grounder landed fair down the left field line and rolled to the wall for an RBI triple, his first with the G-Braves. The next hitter, Carlos Franco, put Gwinnett in front 2-1 by grounding a single through the middle to score Johnson.
After Rodriguez singled with one out in the seventh, Wisler erased him by inducing an inning-ending double play from pinch-hitter Harold Martinez to finish his start with Gwinnett ahead 2-1. Over 7.0 strong innings, Wisler gave up just one earned run on six hits while walking one and striking out four to record his fifth quality start in his last six outings. However, he would not factor in the final decision.
Cabrera entered for Gwinnett in the eighth and struggled by walking the bases loaded, with one walk intentional. With two outs, Gomez hit a ground ball up the middle. Gwinnett second baseman Ozzie Albies ranged to his right to field the ball, but had no play at first as the tying run scored. On the play, Dylan Cozens tried to score from second, but Albies made a perfect throw to the plate from the outfield grass to nab Cozens at the plate.
In the bottom of the eighth, Dustin Peterson led off with a single and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and a ground out. David Freitas scored Peterson with a broken-bat single to shallow left field, giving the G-Braves the lead at 3-2.
Again, it wouldn't be enough as Scott Kingery singled off David Peterson (L, 1-2) to score the tying run in the ninth. The reliever limited the damage to one run by striking out Rhys Hoskins to end the inning with runners on second and third. In the bottom half, Edubray Ramos (W, 2-0) pitched a scoreless inning to send the game to extras.
In the 10th, Cozens led off with a single, stole second base and moved to third on a groundout. The G-Braves appeared to catch a break as Gomez bounced a comebacker to the mound and Cozens was caught in a rundown between third and home, but David Peterson's throw hit Cozens in the head, allowing him to return to third safely. Two batters later, Pedro Florimon put the IronPigs ahead for good with a line drive single to right that scored a pair of runs for a 5-3 Lehig Valley lead.
Former G-Brave Pedro Beato came in for the visitors in the bottom half and walked the first two batters before retiring the next three to strand the tying runs on base and earn his league-leading 27th save of the season.
For Gwinnett, Jace Peterson went 2-for-4 with a walk to extend his on-base streak to 21 games. Albies finished 3-for-5 with a walk while Franco also contributed a pair of hits.
Lehigh Valley was led by a 4-for-5 performance from Rodriguez while Gomez went 2-for-5 with a pair of runs.
In the finale of the series on Wednesday night, reigning International League Pitcher of the Week Andrew Albers (9-3, 3.27 ERA) will start for Gwinnett against Lehigh Valley right-hander Zach Eflin (1-2, 3.72 ERA). First pitch at Coolray Field is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Dave Lezotte has the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM The Other Side of the River beginning at 6:35 p.m. For tickets, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets .
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