G-Braves find enough trouble

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Photo by Brandon Brigman

LAWRENCEVILLE — Time and time again the Gwinnett Braves found themselves in trouble. Each time they minimized the damage, but it built up.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees scored two runs with no outs in the second inning after Gwinnett starter Jacob Thompson threw nine straight balls with two outs to load the base for the Yankees. When he did find the strike zone, Greg Golson knocked a ball back up the middle to score Jordan Parraz and Ramiro Pena and give Scranton/Wilkes-Barre a 2-1 lead.

They extended the lead in the seventh, loading the bases and two walks and an error, on reliever Johan Flande. Flande struck out the next two, but an error on a weak ground ball in front of home plate let the third Yankee run score.

Teheran keeps pitching honor in Gwinnett

Braves top prospect Julio Teheran became the second consecutive Gwinnett Braves pitcher to earn weekly honors from the International League on Monday.

Left-hander Mike Minor was named IL Pitcher of the Week a week ago.

In the past week, the left-hander from Colombia went 2-0 in two starts with an ERA of 1.93. He pitched 14 total innings, struck out 14 and walked just two. On the season, the 20-year-old is 3-0 in five starts with an even lower 1.80 ERA, and his 25 strikeouts rank second on the team behind Minor.

Toledo center fielder Andy Dirks was named hitter of the week after putting up a .433 batting average with three doubles, a home run and five RBIs in seven games for the Mud Hens.

The G-Braves went on to strand 10 runners in a 3-1 loss, their second straight to the Yankees.

“We had some chances,” Gwinnett manager Dave Brundage said. “We didn’t have our best at-bats with runners in scoring position.”

Gwinnett was 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

Thompson pitched an erratic 41⁄3 innings, striking out as many, four, as he walked, giving up seven hits but just two runs. He started the game striking out three of the first five he faced, but then walked two straight batters on nine straight pitches. He stranded seven runners, but went through stretches where he couldn’t find the strike zone.

Johan Flande entered with two on and one out in the fifth and after walking his first batter, saved Thompson and the G-Braves any more runs with a strikeout and a groundout to the Yankees’ bottom of the order.

“It was just not a good start at all on my part,” Thompson said. “I couldn’t ever get on a roll. I couldn’t ever get into a groove.”

As a group the pitchers forced the Yankees to strand a season-high 15, but the three they didn’t leave on were the difference.

The G-Braves threatened in the third when Jordan Schafer led the inning off with a double. But with two outs, a strong throw from Yankees’ right fielder Parraz nailed Schafer at the plate as he tried to score from second on Lucas’ second hit of the game. Parraz’s perfect throw hit Gustavo Molina on a hop and the tag hit Schafer as he dove home. Brundage had a calm, yet lengthy discussion about the call with home plate umpire Mike Eastabrook.

“The right fielder makes a nice throw to the plate,” Brundage said.

They had another chance in the seventh when J.C. Boscan and Jose Constanza led the inning off with singles and Schafer bunted them both to scoring position. But Matt Young struck out for the third time and Mauro Gomez followed in kind. Young struck out three times in the game, twice looking.

“That’s uncharacteristic,” Brundage said. “That is not the Matt Young I’ve come to know the past couple of years.”