G-Braves keep playoff pace

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Photo by Brandon Brigman

LAWRENCEVILLE -- In a tight race for a division title or even a wild card title heading down the stretch, the Gwinnett Braves got solid pitching and timely hitting to knock off Norfolk 4-2 Saturday night at Coolray Field.

With nine regular season games left, the G-Braves remain three games behind Durham in the International League South standings after the Bulls won over Charlotte.

They also remain two games back of Lehigh Valley in the race for the wild card following the IronPigs' win at Louisville.

"We can't worry about what the other teams are doing," said Gwinnett manager Dave Brundage. "We have to take care of our business and win games, then let things shake out. We still have (nine) games remaining, so we just have to pitch well and play well."

Norfolk jumped out to 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Robbie Widlansky single to right to score Tyler Henson, but a strong throw from Stefan Gartrell nailed Josh Bell at the plate for the third out of the inning and save a run.

G-Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran struggled with his control in the first, walking two and throwing 25 pitches, but also struck out a pair to minimize the damage.

Gwinnett answered in the bottom half when Wilkin Ramirez, who had led off with a single and stole second, scored on Gartrell's RBI single to center to make it a 1-1 game. It was Gartrell's 87th RBI of the season.

Ramirez, who started in place of Matt Young, prospered in the leadoff spot -- going 3-for-4 with three singles and two runs scored.

Norfolk regained the lead 2-1 in the top of the third on a RBI by Brandon Synder to score Kyle Hudson, who had reached on a bloop double to center field.

In the bottom of the fourth, Mauro Gomez put Gwinnett ahead for the first time when he drove an 0-1 pitch over the wall in center field for a two-run homer -- his 20th of the season -- and 3-2 G-Braves lead.

Wes Helms started the inning by reaching on an error by Tides' third baseman Blake Davis and scored on the Gomez homer that hit the top of the wall and bounced over for the round-tripper.

Gwinnett upped its lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth when Ramirez singled, stole second and came home on Ruben Gotay's RBI single.

Teheran threw a perfect sixth to finish his night and put the G-Braves in position to turn it over to to the bullpen.

"I thought (Teheran) got command of his three pitches," said Brundage. "Once he got control of his fast ball, he was able to work better. We needed that kind of outing."

In the seventh, Peter Moylan made his third appearance as his continues his rehab assignment with the G-Braves.

Moylan, who threw 17 pitches, had to work out of trouble in the inning. Norfolk loaded the bases loaded after a single, a walk and an error.

But Moylan got Henson to strike out to retire the side.

Jaye Chapman threw a scoreless eighth and Jairo Asencio came on in the ninth to record his 23rd save of the season in 24 chances. It was also his 50th career save for the G-Braves.