LAWRENCEVILLE Gwinnett feasted on teams from outside the International League's South Division a year ago and it looks like it's time to fatten up once again.
The G-Braves have already taken a bite out of Pawtucket, just like in 2009.
G-Braves 4, Paw Sox 2
What happened: Gwinnett stretched its winning streak to five games and has won 12 of its past 16 games in improving to 14-12.
Stars of the game: RHP James Parr (2-2) took a shutout into the seventh inning in his longest outing of the season and RHP Craig Kimbrel worked the final 21/3 innings for his sixth save.
Good debut: SS Luis Bolivar got a double in his first at-bat, his third-inning pop-up falling in shallow left field. He then stole third base and scored the G-Braves' second run.
Plenty of seats: The rainy weather held the crowd to 2,292, the smallest of the season.
Blackout: The main scoreboard at Coolray Field was dark, the victim of an overnight lightning strike. In old-school fashion, a line score on the auxiliary fence panel in left field kept fans up to date.
Up next: RHP Chris Resop (2-1, 1.40 ERA) will start for the G-Braves tonight in the finale of the four-game series. RHP Randor Bierd (2-2, 4.74 ERA) is Pawtucket's scheduled pitcher for the 7:05 p.m. game, which will be televised on CSS.
James Parr pitched into the seventh inning, Craig Kimbrel got his sixth save and Freddie Freeman drove in two runs as Gwinnett took its third straight from the Paw Sox, winning 4-2 Monday night at Coolray Field.
The G-Braves go for a second four-game home sweep over Pawtucket in as many years tonight before continuing a stretch of 36 straight games against the North and West with a road trip beginning Thursday in Syracuse.
Gwinnett made the Governors' Cup playoffs as the wild-card team last season thanks to a 48-31 victory against teams from outside the South, where they were 32-32.
The latest victory over Pawtucket stretched the G-Braves' winning streak to five games and they are 12-4 since a seven-game losing streak.
Now 14-12, Gwinnett is two games over .500 for the first time this season and trails first-place Durham by just two games in the IL South.
Parr (2-2) threw 111 pitches and took a shutout into the seventh in his longest outing of the season. He allowed two of the six hits he gave up in his final inning, leaving with two on and two out.
Kimbrel relieved Parr and gave up a double by Bubba Bell that scored both runners, cutting the G-Braves' lead to a run.
But Gwinnett went back up by two runs in the bottom of the inning as Wes Timmons walked, stole second base and scored on a double to the right-center field fence by Freeman.
Freeman was 2-for-2 with a sacrifice fly and walk, while Timmons was 1-for-2 with a RBI triple and two walks. Both have been keys to the G-Braves' recent success.
"I feeling good at the plate right now," said Freeman, who is hitting .277 with four homers and 15 RBIs.
Timmons is 10-for-14 in the past four games, raising his average to .315.
"I don't think anyone in this locker room thought we didn't have a good lineup," Timmons said. "It just took us a little while to get going."
"We had a slow start, but now we're playing well," Freeman said. "It's fun."
Kimbrel is 6-for-6 in save opportunities this season and 34 of 35 since signing with Atlanta as a third-round draft choice in 2008.
The hard-throwing right-hander struck out four and closed out the game with the potential tying runs on base after a hit batter and a single. Bell, who had the two-run double off Kimbrel earlier, flew out to left field to end the game.
The G-Braves got a second-inning run on Clint Sammons' sacrifice fly and scored two more times in the third. Timmons tripled to drive in newcomer Luis Bolivar, who had doubled, and then scored himself on a sacrifice fly by Freeman.
Gwinnett had a chance to break the game open in the fifth inning, but Paw Sox reliever Dustin Richardson fanned Mitch Jones to get out of a bases-loaded jam.
The G-Braves set season highs for hits in the previous two victories over Pawtucket with 14 and 15 hits. But this time they won with pitching.
Gwinnett goes for its first series sweep of the season tonight in the finale with the Paw Sox and will have Chris Resop on the mound. The veteran right-hander is 2-1 with a 1.40 ERA.