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Clippers call halt to G-Braves' winning streak

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Photo by Brandon Brigman

LAWRENCEVILLE —Todd Redmond’s Mr. Hyde showed up for the first time Tuesday.

The enigmatic starter, who flashes brilliance, looked out of sorts from his first batter.

He didn’t record an out until the fifth batter of the first inning, and that out was a sacrifice fly. A Matt Young error at second base didn’t help by tacking on an unearned run, but things never leveled for the right-hander.

INSTANT REPLAY

Clippers 7, G-Braves 5

What happened: G-Braves starter Todd Redmond struggled, allowing seven runs (six earned) over 32⁄3 innings and the G-Braves never recovered. Gwinnett added four runs in the fourth and brought the go-ahead run up in the seventh but never overcame the early deficit. The loss ends a franchise-best seven-game winning streak. Jose Constanza went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI against his former team. After Redmond, the bullpen pitched well with Jose Lugo, Anthony Varvaro and Juan Abreu combining for 41⁄3 scoreless innings with eight strikeouts.

Stat of the day: RHP Anthony Varvaro entered the game with the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the seventh. Two strikeouts and a ground ball later, he left the bases loaded, saving Jose Lugo any earned runs.

Web gem: 3B Shawn Bowman stopped a bad inning from getting worse with a diving snag of a sinking line drive by Chad Huffman to end the fourth.

Pivotal moment: Clippers’ Jason Kipnis homered with two outs to give Columbus a 6-0 lead in the third inning.

On deck: RHP Jacob Thompson (1-0, 7.11 ERA) gets his fourth start against Columbus RHP Alex White (0-0, 2.00 ERA) at 7 p.m.

A diving catch by Jose Constanza helped keep Redmond clean in the second inning, but nothing could help the third.

The first two Columbus batters reached base and Jason Kipnis finished the inning off with a two-run home run. When he allowed an RBI single with two outs in the fourth, Redmond’s day was done and the G-Braves trailed 7-0. Redmond’s final line: 32⁄3 innings pitched, eight hits, six earned runs, two walks, two strikeouts and a home run allowed.

The G-Braves could not rally against the league’s top-hitting team, losing 7-5 to the Clippers (14-5) and ending their franchise-best seven-game winning streak.

“To our guys’ credit, we came back and made a ballgame out of it,” Gwinnett Braves coach Dave Brundage said of turning a 7-0 deficit to a 7-5 defeat.

Unlike Redmond’s first three outings where the G-Braves (13-6) scored eight total runs, with seven of the eight coming in an 11-inning win at Durham, the bats tried to back up the starting pitcher. Gwinnett put up four runs in the fourth inning, capped off by a Wilkin Ramirez two-RBI double. Jordan Schafer knocked in a run with a bunt single and Diory Hernandez scored Mauro Gomez with a two-out single.

Constanza went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI from the lead-off spot against his former team and Joe Mather scored a pair of runs with a double off Clippers’ left-hander David Huff. Zach Putnam faced the minimum in a two-inning save.

Redmond entered Tuesday’s game riding three solid outings. Though the bats had failed him, he entered with an ERA of 1.93, had walked just four and struck out 15.

And Tuesday’s results were eerily similar to the start Redmond turned in a year ago on his fourth turn. He entered the April 25, 2010, start at Durham with a 1.69 ERA and a 2-1 record. He had lasted at least seven innings in each of his first three starts, struck out 19 and allowed just one home run. That night, he gave up six runs over just four innings.

“I wish I knew (what caused the inconsistency),” Brundage said. “He certainly had pitched outstanding to this point. He didn’t have his location early on and they squared him up pretty good.”

After the seven runs, the bullpen kept the International League’s top-hitting team silent over he final 41⁄3 innings. The combination of Jose Lugo, Anthony Varvaro and Juan Abreu struck out eight and Varvaro stranded the bases loaded in the seventh after inheriting the three runners with no outs.

“(It’s) damage control at that point,” Varvaro said. “Most of the time you aren’t going to strand them all. Tonight I was fortunate to be on that side.”

“The relievers did an outstanding job,” Brundage said.