LAWRENCEVILLE — Two days ago, Matt Young looked lost.
He hadn’t had a hit in five straight games, including going 0-for-6. He had dropped from No. 1 or No. 2 in the batting order down to the lower third. His average had dipped down to .208. He had not had a multi-hit game or RBI since May 1 against Pawtucket and many of his outs were infield ground ball.
Clippers 12, G-Braves 9
What happened: The G-Braves couldn’t get on top after a rough start from Tim Gustafson. Columbus scored three runs in the third inning and Gwinnett never got closer than one. Matt Young went 4-for-5 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBIs and Freddie Freeman had two doubles and two runs scored. The 12 runs allowed were the most giving up this season by the G-Braves. Gustafson took the loss, pitching 42⁄3 innings, and allowing seven runs off eight hits, four walks and two strikeouts.
Stat of the day: The G-Braves threw out three runners at third base Wednesday against Columbus, two from right fielder Gregor Blanco to Wes Timmons.
Web gem: SS Brandon Hicks had to redirect his path on a hard chopper in the eighth when the ball ricocheted off the glove of pitcher Cristhian Martinez, but he made a bare-handed stab and threw the runner out at first.
Pivotal moment: The G-Braves trailed by three runs in the ninth inning, but a two-run homer by Josh Rodriguez extended that margin to five.
Worth noting: The G-Braves are one win away from No. 100 since moving to Gwinnett.
On deck: RHP Chris Resop (4-1, 1.90 ERA) looks to continue his strong start against the Clippers’ RHP Carlos Carrasco (2-2, 4.08) on a night that features Whiplash the Cowboy Monkey.
He kept working in the batting cage with pitching coach Jamie Dismuke and made a small change with his hands.
The tweak, mixed with some good pitches to hit, opened up the field for Young.
On Tuesday he went 2-for-4 with a double, a run and an RBI. And things got better Wednesday.
Young led his game off with a solo home run in the third, his second on the year. The homer gave Gwinnett its first hit and run of the game. He followed with a single and a double on a 4-for-5 night for the outfielder. He knocked in two runs and scored twice.
“It was actually not even a big adjustment. I was actually just getting back to something I did previously, in previous years and earlier in the season, just holding onto the bat and finishing strong with my top hand,” Young said of his batting change. “The results were out there on the field. I am just sticking with the approach that got me where I am right now.”
Young’s output kept the G-Braves in a high-scoring game, but they came up short in a 12-9 loss to Columbus. He even added his final RBI with a two-out single in the ninth.
The 12 runs given up by Gwinnett were the most on the season.
The G-Braves played from behind all night after starter Tim Gustafson gave up three runs in the third inning of a rough 42⁄3 for the Parkview grad. Gustafson allowed seven runs for his second loss of the season.
Again and again, Gwinnett tried to rally. After the Clippers’ three-run third, the G-Braves answered with two. Columbus scored five in the fifth and the G-Braves kept it manageable with three runs in the bottom half. They always answered with a few less runs and the deficit grew. Freddie Freeman propped up the G-Braves with a 3-for-5 night including two doubles and two RBIs.
The G-Braves loss would have been worse had the defense not thrown out three runners at third base to silence big Clipper innings.
Jeff Lyman entered for Gustafson and didn’t fare much better, lasting just 11⁄3 innings and giving up three runs. He loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh, but Cristhian Martinez entered and kept the damage to just two runs.
Martinez threw three complete to end the game, but the two runs he surrendered on a Josh Rodriguez homer in the ninth seemed to seal the game for the Clippers.
But even down 12-7 entering the bottom of the ninth, Gwinnett brought the tying run to the plate after Young and Wes Timmons both singled in runs to cut the deficit to 12-9. Clint Sammons struck out to end the game.
Nearly all of the Clippers damage came from the heart of their order. Carlos Santana, Wes Hodges, Brian Busher and Chris Gimenez scored nine of the 12 runs and combined to reach base 15 times.