Staff Photo: Jason Braverman. Gwinnett Braves shortstop Tyler Patornicky gets the force out at second base on Louisville Bats' Devin Mesoraco and leaps out of the way in an attempt to turn a double play Tuesday at Coolray Field.
LAWRENCEVILLE — For nearly 10 days Mauro Gomez was stuck on career homer No. 99.
He hit the 99th against Charlotte on July 10, the day before the All-Star break. He hit a few during the Class AAA home run derby, but those didn’t count. And in just his fourth hit in his five games since the break, Gomez finally got ahold of one.
It came on the first pitch he saw in the fourth inning and sailed over the center field wall, giving him the three-digit career mark.
Bats 5, G-Braves 2
• What happened: A three-run rally came just in time for the G-Braves, who tied the game in the ninth against the Louisville Bats. They promptly let the momentum fade, when Juan Abreu allowed two runs in the top of the 10th. Gwinnett starter Cristhian Martinez took a no-decision after a rough five innings where he allowed three earned runs off 11 hits and struck out three. Louisville starter Travis Wood pitched 61⁄3 innings, giving up two solo home runs and striking out four. Brandon Hicks went 3-for-3, Mauro Gomez scored a pair of runs and Matt Young and Jose Constanza each had a pair of hits. Dustin Richardson threw a pair of perfect innings in relief setting up the rally potential.
• Mr. 100: With a first pitch home run in the fourth inning Mauro Gomez reached career home run No. 100 and it was his 16th of the season.
• Intentional bases: Bats’ Yonder Alonso took the IL lead in intentional walks with his sixth in the sixth inning. G-Brave Mauro Gomez is second with five.
• AAA debut: Tyler Pastornicky made his Class AAA debut going 1-for-3 with an infield single for the G-Braves and committing his first error at shortstop at this level in the second.
• Up next: Gwinnett continues its series with Louisville sending RHP Erik Cordier (3-5, 4.03 ERA) to face LHP Matt Maloney (2-1, 4.45) tonight at 7 p.m.
“I didn’t know,” Gomez said of hitting No. 100. “My teammates came up to me after the game and said congratulations.
“I am happy to get 100 and I just want to keep working to get more than that.”
And when the G-Braves rallied with three runs in the ninth the tie the game, the one run mattered more than the career mark.
Gwinnett got RBI singles from Diory Hernandez, Wilkin Castillo and Jose Constanza in the ninth inning to tie the game at 5-5. Castillo was thrown out at third on a Constanza single, sending the G-Braves to their third extra-inning game in their past six. Those two ended in the 11th on Hernandez’ game-winning hits.
On Tuesday, the Louisville Bats struck back in the 10th against Juan Abreu to drop the G-Braves 7-5.
After a leadoff walk, Abreu allowed back-to-back singles and an error scored Danny Dorn for the go-ahead run. Paul Janish, who went 4-for-5, followed Dorn home on a sacrifice fly.
“Leadoff walks are going to come back to haunt you,” manager Dave Brundage said.
The ninth-inning magic could not be repeated in the 10th and Gomez’s 100th homer went in vain.
It was his 16th homer of the season as he tries to keep pace with career single-season home run leader Stefan Gartrell who, the pitch before No. 100, hit his 20th of the year.
It was another round number for another G-Brave, the day after Brundage won his 1,000th career game.
Before the late rally, the G-Braves offense was limited to the long ball.
The two runs came on back-to-back pitches by Louisville starter Travis Wood and it was the first time this season the G-Braves lost a game when they hit consecutive homers.
Gwinnett fell behind in the second when starter Cristhian Martinez allowed four runs off five hits and an error. A lead-off home run by Devin Mesoraco started a string of five straight Bats reaching base. An error on Gartrell in right field led to the second run and Yonder Alonso knocked in two more.
Martinez’ left the game in the fifth inning after allowing three earned runs off 11 hits and three strikeouts and picked up his second loss of the season. The three earned runs were a season high for Martinez.
“He didn’t seem his normal self,” Brundage said. “He lacked command tonight and he’s a command guy.”
Aside from the two home runs, the G-Braves never managed much offense until the ninth. They hit into a pair of double plays and stranded just five runners on the night.
Louisville’s Wood went 61⁄3, allowing two runs off seven hits and striking out four. Neither starting pitcher walked a batter.
“We were lucky to get a couple of runs off him,” Brundage said.
Steven Shell allowed one run in two innings of relief and Dustin Richardson pitched two perfect innings in relief with one strikeout. Juan Abreu took his first loss of the year, allowing the two runs in the 10th.