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Two-out runs haunt G-Braves

Photo by Ben Beitzel

Photo by Ben Beitzel

LAWRENCEVILLE — In his first action since the Atlanta Braves optioned him back to Class AAA, Anthony Varvaro looked like the guy who struck out 16 batters in his innings nine innings.

But he also showed how he walked six.

The right-hander struck out two in his first inning, including one with one out and runners on first and third. He even retired the first two batters of his eighth inning before the walks set in.

INSTANT REPLAY

PawSox 7, G-Braves 3

• What happened: Pawtucket scored three runs to break a tie game in the eighth inning and didn’t allow another Gwinnett run as the G-Braves dropped 3 of 4 to the PawSox to end their homestand. The G-Braves squandered six hard-fought innings by starter Erik Cordier, who allowed three runs off six hits and struck out seven. Mauro Gomez went 3-for-4 and Stefan Gartrell hit a two-run home run in the third. The bottom of the Pawtucket order hurt did most of the damage going 8-for-17 with four runs scored and five RBIs.

• Skeleton crew: With Tyler Pastornicky day-to-day with a sprained right ankle the G-Braves played Monday’s game with just catcher Wil Nieves on the bench.

• Career slam: Stefen Gartrell’s two-run home run in the sixth gave him No. 25 on the season with the team and tied him with Barbaro Canizares for career home runs for a Gwinnett Brave. Canizares collected his 25 over two seasons.

• Pivotal moment: Recently optioned Anthony Varvaro allowed three runs with two outs in the eighth inning as Pawtucket broke a 3-3 tie.

• Up next: Gwinnett hits the road for a four-game set with the Syracuse Chiefs. Stephen Shell (2-2, 2.74 ERA with five stars) will get a spot start in place of Randall Delgado who is slated for a spot major-league start. Syracuse will start RHP Brad Meyers (4-4, 3.79).

Varvaro walked the next two on nine pitches and followed it with back-to-back hits as Pawtucket broke a 3-3 tie wide open with a three-run eighth.

Down three runs for the second time in the game, the G-Braves couldn’t rally, losing 7-3 to the PawSox and dropping three of four in the short home series.

The bullpen trouble didn’t end with Varvaro’s exit either. Jaye Chapman, for his third consecutive appearance, gave up a run and struggled with his control. He allowed three straight two-out singles in the ninth and followed those with a walk. He escaped only allowing one run with a ground out. The final four Pawtucket runs all came with two outs.

For the second straight inning, it was the bottom of the Pawtucket lineup doing the two-out damage against the G-Braves.

For the game, Pawtucket’s bottom four hitters were combined 8-for-17 with five RBIs and four runs scored. The only two runs the bottom four weren’t a part of were two solo home runs off starter Erik Cordier.

And for the second straight start, Cordier battled through six innings.

The right hander found his trouble early. A double play erased his game-opening walk, and played big when Cordier gave up a home run to the next batter, Ryan Lavarnway. It was the PawSox’s catcher’s first hit of the series.

In the second inning, Cordier gave up a second home run to the first batter of the inning, Daniel Nava, and two hits later was found himself down 3-0 with no outs.

From there, the up-and-down starter retired nine of the next day batters, settling into the game.

After needing more than 30 pitches to get a fourth out, Cordier threw six solid innings, allowing just three runs off six hits, walking three and striking out seven.

Cordier left the game with a no-decision after Stefan Gartrell tied it at 3-3 with a two-run home run in the third inning. It was the right-hander’s 25th home run of the season, tying him for the career Gwinnett Braves mark with Barbaro Canizares. Canizares hit his 25 over two seasons with Gwinnett. The two RBIs tied him for the lead in the International League with 82 on the season. For his career, Gartrell is one RBI away from 400.

But the three-run third was the only offense the G-Braves could muster a day after being shutout by a complete on a complete game effort by newly-name IL pitcher of the week Matt Fox. Gwinnett only had one hit over the final three innings and left five runners on base.

Mauro Gomez did go 3-for-4, including leading off the second and sixth innings with singles, but didn’t score a run. Diory Hernandez went 1-for-3 after being dropped to ninth in the order an Ruben Gotay, hitting second, was 2-for-3 with a run scored.