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G-Braves ride Flande's pitching in win, climb in standings

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Photo by Brandon Brigman

LAWRENCEVILLE -- It all ended in the seventh.

On a 1-0 count to the inning's second batter the no-hitter for Yohan Flande stopped with a single by Blake Davis. It was his 95th pitch of the game.

The announced crowd of 4,539 at Coolray Field immediately acknowledged the effort with an ovation and when manager Dave Brundage walked to the mound to take the ball from his starter the applause grew louder with many standing.

"I am thankful to everyone and the fans, it was good," Flande said through a translator. "I appreciated everyone knowing what was going on."

The one-hitter in six-plus innings came with four walks and five strikeouts and his fourth walk earlier in the inning led to one run going against the lefty.

But the G-Braves already held the lead and went on to win 4-1 over Norfolk for Flande's eighth win of the season in 16 starts.

The win puts the G-Braves three games behind Durham in the International League South and one game back in the Wild Card.

"Every win is big," Brundage said.

This was the first time in Flande's pitching career he carried a no-hitter through six innings. He credited his fastball location as the main reason. But he mixed in enough off-speed pitches to keep the batters off-balance. In a lineup with four left-handed batters, Flande kept all but one from getting a hit.

"He worked in his off-speed stuff well to the left-handed hitter," Brundage said.

Flande's 8-8 record and an ERA of 3.88 typifies the 25-year-old's season. The utility starter has appeared in 30 games in total with a mix of starts and long and short relief. He even has one save.

The native of the Dominican Republic originally signed with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2004 and joined the Braves organization this past offseason as a minor league free agent. His season with the Class AAA G-Braves is the highest classification Flande has reached.

Even without a hit, an elevated pitch count would have ended Flande's night early. Peter Moylan certainly would have.

"I was aware of his pitch count. He earned the right to go back out there (in the seventh)," Brundage said.

Flande walked the first batter and then allowed his only hit.

"He made my job easy," Brundage said.

J.J. Hoover retired the three outs in the inning, allowing one hit and the runner Flande put on base to score. Moylan followed.

The Braves reliever was scheduled to throw one inning in his second appearance as he continues his comeback from April back surgery. He pitched a scoreless eighth, walking the first batter and pitching out of trouble when another reached on an error. Moylan struck out one and threw 20 pitches, 10 for strikes.

"Other than the first hitter, Moylan threw the ball well," Brundage said.

Jairo Asencio ended the game with authority, striking out the side.

The G-Braves broke the game open in the fifth with a two-out hit binge. Ruben Gotay doubled to deep left-center to get the scoring started and Wes Helms and Brandon Hicks added RBI singles in the frame. Gwinnett sent all nine batters to the plate inning the inning. The RBI was Helms' second of the game on his 2-for-4 night.

Mauro Gomez also added two hits and Gotay went 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored.

"With Flande pitching the way he was we just needed to get a few on the board and we did," Brundage said.

Flande just had fun.

"It was exciting every inning seeing the zero on the board," he said. "I was just trying to keep pitching."