G-Braves get hammered by Mud Hens

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Photo by Brandon Brigman

LAWRENCVILLE — Saturday was just one of those nights when absolutely nothing went right for the Gwinnett Braves.

They managed to make good contact at the plate most of the night, but managed just three hits off Toledo pitchers Andy Oliver and Matt Hoffman.

That was far too few to keep up with the Mud Hen bats, which pounded out 17 hits and 13 runs — both season highs by a G-Braves opponent — in a 13-1 Toledo victory before 7,606 fans at Coolray Field.

Max St. Pierre, Ben Guez, Clete Thomas and Argenis Diaz each had three hits for Toledo (18-19), with St. Pierre driving in three runs and Diaz adding two RBIs.

Former Atlanta Brave Scott Thorman also blasted at three-run home run, while Danny Worth added a two-run shot in the eighth inning to close out the Toledo hit parade.

Oliver (4-2) wound up limiting the G-Braves (19-16) to just three hits and one earned run with five striketouts over seven innings.

But for the second straight night, the G-Braves had several hard-hit balls, especially in the early innings.

“If you look at the linescore, there are a couple of things that were misleading,” G-Braves manager Dave Brundage said. “One is (relief pitcher Yohan) Flande’s line, and the two is offensive statistics. I thought we swung the bats well, but we can’t control where they play.”

However, hits were still hard to come by as the Mud Hens made several strong defensive plays behind Oliver (4-2).

Those plays helped the left-hander set down the first 13 hitters he faced before Stefan Gartrell broke up the perfect game with a towering home run off the batter’s eye in center field well over 400 feet away with one out in the fifth.

And by that time, Toledo had chased G-Braves starter Jacob Thompson (1-4), who was hit hard for his second straight outing after lasting just 1⁄3 of an inning in a loss at Pawtucket last Monday.

The 24-year-old right-hander lasted 21⁄3 innings this time, but the results weren’t much better as the Mud Hens struck for three runs in the top of the second — keyed by RBI hits from Diaz and St. Pierre and a sacrifice fly by Will Rhymes — and four more in the third, with the big blow coming Thorman’s three-run blast.

“We fell behind 7-0 and couldn’t recover,” Brundage said. “Any time you fall behind 7-0 and you’re facing a good (Mud Hens) pitching staff over there, you’ve got your backs to the wall. We continue to swing the bats. I don’t know how many hard-hit balls we had.”

One of the other bright spots for the G-Braves on the night was the pitching out of Flande out of the bullpen.

The 6-foot-2, 180-pound left-hander set down 15 of the first 16 Mud Hens he faced over his first five innings of work before running into trouble in the eighth — when he was hit in the hand with a line drive off the bat of Rhymes before giving up a three-run homer to Worth.

Flande wound up giving up six runs on six hits over six innings with five strikeouts.