LAWRENCEVILLE – To say that the Gwinnett Braves haven’t been at their best at Coolray Field this season would be a major league – rather than minor – under statement.
How bad have they been?
On the road the G-Braves have one of the best records in the International League at 13-5. At home they have one of the worst.
Mud Hens 6, G-Braves 5
What happened: Toledo went ahead with two runs in the sixth off reliever Anthony Varvaro and dropped Gwinnett’s record to 6-12 at Coolray Field this season.
The good: Mauro Gomez had three hits, Brandon Hicks smacked a two-run homer and Matt Young made a diving catch in center field.
The bad: The G-Braves twice couldn’t hold the lead and reliever Anthony Varvaro’s record fell to 0-5 after Toledo scored twice in the sixth inning.
Disappointed fans: The first three games of the series attracted almost 20,000. But all they saw were losses, two by one run and the other a 13-1 blowout.
On deck: RHP Rodrigo Lopez (5-0, 1.79 ERA) will pitch for the G-Braves in a 10:35 a.m. game against Toledo to conclude the series. Toledo will start RHP Thad Weber (1-3, 5.82 ERA)
A third straight loss to Toledo on Sunday dropped Gwinnett to 6-12 at home and 19-17 overall.
What’s that Thomas Wolfe wrote about not being able to go home again? It’s certainly proving true for Gwinnett.
At least the G-Braves were competitive this time against the Mud Hens. After a 13-1 blowout on Saturday night and after getting just four hits combined in the first two games, Gwinnett twice took leads and banged out 11 hits.
But Anthony Vararo (0-5) couldn’t hold a lead for starter Mike Minor, who needed 90 pitches to make it through five innings.
Varvaro allowed a single, double and single to the first three batters he faced in the sixth inning and a 4-3 G-Braves lead quickly became at 5-4 deficit. The Mud Hens (19-19) added a run in the seventh against Juan Abreu to go up by two runs and Gwinnett’s run in the eighth inning could just trim the margin.
Mauro Gomez was 3-for-4 with a RBI single and Brandon Hicks hit a two-run homer. But that was about all the good news for the G-Braves.
Minor, who came in 2-1 with a 1.82 ERA, wasn’t as good as usual. He allowed eight hits and three runs in his five innings, striking out three and walking one. Toledo catcher Omir Santos touched the left-hander for his first homer of the season on the opening pitch of the third inning.
The Mud Hens go for the series sweep in a 10:35 a.m. game on Monday. Rodrigo Lopez, 5-0 with a 1.79 ERA is the scheduled starter for the G-Braves, giving hope that they can break their home jinx.
Gwinnett hasn’t won at home in May, going 0-5. Worse yet, the G-Braves are 0-7 against the IL West, being swept at home in April by Columbus.