LAWRENCEVILLE —After the Columbus Clippers finished off their four-game sweep of the Gwinnett Braves on Friday night, manager Dave Brundage talked about the ball not bouncing his team’s way.
Not an excuse, but rather a euphemism for a series filled with pickoffs, errors, failed bunts and bloop singles, Brundage’s frustration lay in the lack of execution.
“That’s what I am talking about with the ball bouncing our way,” he said Friday. “But when you lose by one, and you lose by a couple runs and you have a lead, it certainly makes you sit down and evaluate where things went wrong.”
G-Braves 4, SWB-Yankees 1
What happened: Four games of struggles from the G-Braves ended on the arm of Julio Teheran and the bat of Mauro Gomez. Gomez knocked in two runs on a three-hit night and scored the game’s first run in the second inning to give Gwinnett a lead it never surrendered. Teheran, though he allowed seven hits, didn’t allow an earned run and struck out seven for his third win of the year. Matt Young went 1-for-4 with an RBI, and Shawn Bowman scored a run on a 1-for-2 night. Relievers Scott Proctor and Jairo Asencio both pitched scoreless innings in releif.
Streak goes on: With a lead-off double in the second inning, Mauro Gomez upped his hitting streak to 12 games.
Web gem: Diory Henandez, positioned perfectly, snagged a low line drive that led to a double play in the fourth inning and helped Julio Teheran escape trouble.
Pivotal moment: The G-Braves answered the Yankees’ only run in the fifth inning with a run of their own in the bottom half when Gomez knocked in Jordan Schafer with his second double of the game.
On deck: RHP Todd Redmond (0-3, 4.03 ERA) tries to rebound from a rough outing against Charlotte against Yankees’ RHP Adam Warren (1-0, 3.75) today at 2 p.m.
The ball started bouncing the G-Braves’ way Saturday in a 4-1 win.
They scored their first run off a bunt single in the second inning, that Scranton/Wilkes-Barre starting pitcher David Phelps threw away at first base. A hustling Mauro Gomez scored from second base on the play.
They added two runs in the third when Jordan Schafer’s successful sac bunt set up Matt Young and Gomez’s two-out RBI singles. And in the fifth, Schafer stretched a single to a double and it paid off with Gomez’s second double and RBI of the game. Gomez’s three-hit night made it 12 straight games with a hit for the first baseman.
“I feel very confident at the plate,” Gomez said through a translator. “I can see the ball really well. I have been practicing a lot in the cage and just trying to improve.”
The two doubles were the first time for Gomez since he did it in June for Class AA Mississippi last season. The native of the Dominican Republic, who signed with the Braves in 2009 after playing six years in the Texas Rangers’ organization, stuck with the Atlanta Braves all the way through spring training, even hitting a game-ending home run at Turner Field in the first of the final two exhibition games.
And he’s been hitting ever since. With the streak, his average is up to .407, he has 12 doubles, 17 RBIs and three home runs in 20 games with the G-Braves.
“I was working very hard back in the Dominican (Republic),” Gomez said of his winter. “I was confident going into spring training and since then I have felt very confident.”
His 12th RBI answered the Yankees’ only run in the top of the fifth knocked in by top catching prospect Jesus Montero.
The unearned run was the only run allowed by starter Julio Teheran, who continues to pitch well. The Braves’ top prospect ended the night after six innings, seven strikeouts, one walk and 90 pitches, 65 for strikes.
He stranded seven runners, including three in the first inning where he loaded the bases before striking out his second of seven Yankees.
“I was doing what I always do when there are runners on base,” Teheran said through a translator. “I change a little bit from what I was doing before with my fastball and change-up.”
Teheran admits he really using just the two pitches in games while he works to build confidence with his curveball between starts.
“Back to the fastball,” he said.
At 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA Teheran is faring well with his two pitches. The seven strikeouts Saturday upped his count to 27, just three behind team leader Mike Minor’s 29.
Three of his strikeouts came against the Yankees’ Jorge Vazquez who brought a 10 game hitting streak into the game. Vazquez ended the night 0-for-4 with four K’s.
Relievers Scott Proctor and Jairo Asencio pitch scoreless eighth and ninth innings finish off the game and give Teheran another confidence-building win.
“I feel very confident when I pitch because the team is winning,” Teheran said. “I know I am in the right place.”