The Gwinnett Braves' offense is finally getting untracked, with even Brandon Hicks joining in the fun.
The shortstop smashed his first homer and was 3-for-4 with three RBIs as the G-Braves snapped Durham's eight-game winning streak with an 8-7 victory Saturday night in North Carolina.
G-Braves 8, Bulls 7
What happened: Winning for the fifth time in seven games after a seven-game losing streak, Gwinnett snapped Durham's eight-game win streak.
Stars of game: SS Brandon Hicks and CF Gregor Blanco each had three hits and a home run for the G-Braves.
Streaking: 1B Freddie Freeman, who was 2-for-4 with a triple, is 9-for-16 with three homers and seven RBIs in his past four games after a slow start.
No longer missing: RF Brent Clevlen, sidelined for three games because of a sore back, returned and was 1-for-4 with a run scored. He leads the G-Braves with a .389 average.
Up next: The teams play the third game of the four-game series today in Durham at 5:05 p.m. RHP Todd Redmond, 2-1 with a 1.69 ERA, is scheduled to start for the G-Braves against RHP Aneury Rodriguez (1-0).
Hicks was 1-for-28 in the previous eight games before getting two hits in the series opener against the Bulls and that proved to just be a warm-up.
The former Texas A&M standout belted a home run in the third inning, had a two-run single in the fourth and added a double in the sixth as the G-Braves reached double figures in hits for the third straight game after a woeful start at the plate.
Gregor Blanco also had three hits and his first homer of the season, while red-hot Freddie Freeman had two hits including a triple.
After one of the worst starts on the team, Freeman is 9-for-16 with six extra-base hits, including three homers, and seven RBIs in the past four games.
The G-Braves, which blew a 4-1 lead and lost 5-4 in the series opener against the Bulls, led 6-2 and 8-5 this time before Durham made it interesting again.
The Bulls scored two runs in the eighth inning off previously perfect Craig Kimbrel and threatened in the ninth before Mariano Gomez survived for his first save.
A failed stolen base attempt helped the G-Braves as pinch runner Desmond Jennings was thrown out at third base by Clint Sammons after a one-out double by Hank Blalock. Joe Dillon then had an infield hit before Gomez got Ryan Shealey to bounce out, ending the game.
The G-Braves (7-10) had lost their first four games to Durham, including three at Coolray Field. The Bulls are 13-4 and already have a commanding lead in the South Division of the International League.
Chris Resop (1-1) started for Gwinnett, striking out five and walking none in five innings. He allowed two runs seven hits, including a first-inning homer by Justin Ruggiano.
The G-Braves conclude their longest road trip of the season with games at Durham today and Monday. Gwinnett dropped the first three games at Charlotte to stretch their losing streak to seven games, but is 5-2 since.
Todd Redmond, the Gwinnett ace, will start the 5:05 p.m. game today against the Bulls. He is 2-1 with a 1.69 ERA and has 19 strikeouts to no walks in 19 innings.
The G-Braves return to Coolray Field after Monday's 11:05 a.m. game in Durham for an eight-game homestand.
Norfolk comes in for four games beginning Tuesday, followed by Pawtucket for four starting next Saturday. Gwinnett was just 2-6 on its opening homestand.