LAWRENCEVILLE — Todd Redmond demonstrated to his fellow Gwinnett pitchers the value of throwing strikes Wednesday and in the process gave the G-Braves bullpen a much needed break.
“What a difference in 16 hours,” manager Dave Brundage said.
Fill-in starter J.J. Hoover threw 39 pitches in the first inning Tuesday night and had 65 by the time he made it through the second.
G-Braves 4, Red Wings 0
• What happened: RHP Todd Redmond (2-4) pitched a three-hit shutout and didn’t issue a walk Wednesday at Coolray Field while lowering his ERA to 2.59. Rochester never got a runner to second base in the 10:35 a.m. game and had only one hit in the final six innings.
• Timely offense: The G-Braves bunched half of their 10 hits in the fifth and sixth innings, scoring twice both times. 2B Ed Lucas had a two-run double in the sixth.
• Hitting star: RF Stefan Gartrell was 3-for-5 and had a double. He also made a nice running catch.
• Defensive gem: LF Matt Young made two good catches and one resulted in a double play on an appeal at second base after runner Danny Lehmann didn’t retouch the bag trying to get back to first.
• Roster shuffle: RHP Cory Gearrin officially rejoined the G-Braves roster on Wednesday after being sent down by Atlanta to make room for RHP Julio Teheran’s spot start in Arizona. LHP Jose Lugo returned to the Gwinnett active list and LHP Rowdy Hardy was returned to Class AA Mississippi after taking the loss in relief on two unearned runs Tuesday night in his one appearance.
• Blast from past: LHP Chuck James, who won 11 games for Atlanta in 2007, pitched the eighth inning for Rochester and struck out three while allowing a hit. He has a 1.90 ERA.
• On deck: LHP Yohan Flande (1-0, 4.05 ERA) will start tonight for Gwinnett against former G-Braves LHP Scott Diamond (1-3, 5.03 ERA) of Rochester at 7:05 p.m. in the third game of the four-game series at Coolray Field.
In complete contrast, Redmond needed more than 12 pitches in an inning just three times and threw a three-hit shutout with no walks as the G-Braves defeated Rochester 4-0 at Coolray Field in a 10:35 a.m. education day game that was played in a crisp 2 hours, 10 minutes.
“We talked about pace and pounding the strike zone,” Brundage said. “There was a lot to learn from last night and a lot to learn from today as a pitcher.”
Redmond faced just two batters over the minimum thanks to a double play and finished with 111 pitches in the G-Braves’ first complete game of the season. He struck out just four, but the only hit he allowed in the final six innings was a ground single that just got by first baseman Mauro Gomez in the seventh.
How dominant was the right-hander? Rochester, which beat the G-Braves 7-6 in the series opener, didn’t get a single runner to second base.
Redmond came in 1-4, with the only victory at Rochester on May 8. But he’d had just one bad outing and his ERA was 3.18 coming into his second start against the Red Wings.
Now, Redmond’s ERA is a sparkling 2.59 and his second career shutout wasn’t just because the Rochester hitters were a little sleepy from the early start.
“I had to get up the same time they did,” Redmond said.
Redmond’s other shutout was a no-hitter at Louisville last season.
He may have been even more in complete control this time.
“I was able to locate my fastball really well,” said Redmond, who led the G-Braves with nine victories each of the past two seasons. “I could go up or down or out.”
Redmond remembers pitching in noon games before, but never one that started as early as 10:35 a.m.
“I was up by 8:30 and got here at 9:15 or 9:30,” Redmond said. “I was a little tired when I woke up, but I took a shower at the ballpark and had time to do everything I’d normally do to get ready for a 7 o’clock game.”
Rochester starter Kyle Gibson — the Twins’ top prospect — matched Redmond through four innings. But the G-Braves broke through for two runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth off the 6-foot-6 right-hander.
A squeeze bunt by Jose Constanza delivered the first run and Jordan Schafer had a sacrifice fly for the second in the fifth. Ed Lucas drove in the two insurance runs an inning later with a double.
Redmond has given up just two homers in eight outings this season and has five quality starts. But he’s had little luck, even losing a game at Durham in April despite allowing just two hits and an unearned run over seven innings.
The G-Braves’ last previous complete game came in the home finale a year ago, when Scott Diamond blanked Norfolk 4-0. The left-hander is now in the Twins organization and will start for Rochester tonight in the third game of the four-game series.
Yohan Flande, who had to pitch six innings in relief of Jacob Thompson on Saturday against Toledo, will start for the G-Braves. With Thompson’s sudden retirement, the left-hander is now a part of the regular rotation. He made a spot start at Rochester on May 7 and pitched five solid innings in a no-decision.
With Scott Proctor promoted to Atlanta and Flande unavailable, the G-Braves had tried to do a lot with a little the past few days. That’s why Redmond’s complete game was so timely.
“The bullpen had been taxed and was awfully thin,” Brundage said. “It meant the world to them.”
“I’m sure they had a nice day off,” said Redmond.