G-Braves split doubleheader with Indians

INDIANAPOLIS - A blown save cost John Halama a victory in his Gwinnett debut, but another former major leaguer did get his first win Wednesday during a doubleheader split with Indianapolis.

Tony Armas (1-0) pitched 51/3 innings in his first decision as the G-Braves won 4-3 in the second seven-inning game at Victory Field.

Halama pitched 51/3 scoreless innings in the first game of the doubleheader, but closer Luis Valdez blew the lead and the game as Indianapolis rallied for a 3-2 victory in the seventh.

Armas, pitching his eighth game for Gwinnett, allowed five hits and three runs, two of them coming on a homer by Steve Pearce in the sixth inning. It was the 10th home run for Pearce, who was 3-for-3.

Armas, 31, walked two and struck out four. A former 12-game winner in the majors, the right-hander signed with Atlanta after being released at the end of spring training by the New York Mets.

Halama, 37, signed with Atlanta on Sunday after going 8-1 with a 2.05 ERA for Southern Maryland in the independent Atlantic League. He once won 15 games for Seattle and spent nine seasons in the majors, most recently in 2006 with Baltimore. The left-hander allowed five hits, walked none and struck out two before giving way to Valdez with two out in the sixth inning.

Valdez, who is tied for second in the International League with 12 saves, blew his fifth opportunity and fell to 1-3.

He gave up four hits, including two doubles, and the three runs in the seventh and final inning. Shelby Ford - hitting less than .200 - delivery a two-out double to tie the game and scored when Luis Cruz followed with a single. It was Cruz's third hit of the game following a pair of earlier doubles.

Gwinnett scored twice in the fifth inning off Virgil Vazquez (5-2), with Brian Barton and Kody Kirkland coming home after doubles. The G-Braves had five hits off Vazquez, with Barton getting another double. Vazquez struck out two and walked one, that intentionally, in the complete game.

Barton had two more hits in the second game, both singles, to go 4-for-7 for the doubleheader. Brooks Conrad also had two hits.

Mariano Gomez pitched the seventh inning of the nightcap for his fifth save. The left-hander has a 1.73 ERA.

Barbaro Canizares, who was sent back down by Atlanta on Wednesday, had a sacrifice fly and drew three walks while playing first base in the second game. He is batting .344 with 38 RBIs.

Wes Timmons returned after missing more than a week with a hamstring injury to play first base in the opener and extended his hitting streak to 12 games by going 1-for-3. He didn't play in the nightcap.

Reid Gorecki had his 10-game hitting streak snapped in the opener, but led off the second game with a double.

The four-game series concludes today at 7 p.m. with Johnny Venters (0-0) pitching for the G-Braves against Eric Hacker (2-1). Hacker was pushed back as Donald Veal started the second game Wednesday while on a rehab assignment from Pittsburgh.

Brian Slocum, pitching in relief of Veal, took the loss against the G-Braves to fall to 1-3. All three games in the series have been decided by one run, with Gwinnett taking the opener 3-2 on Monday.

Gwinnett (36-31) is 20-13 away from home - the second best road record in the International League. Indianapolis (31-34) is 16-20 at home.