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G-Braves make early lead stand against Rochester

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Photo by Brandon Brigman

LAWRENCEVILLE — Gwinnett took advantage of a rough start by former G-Brave Scott Diamond and held off Rochester for the second straight night Thursday.

The G-Braves scored five runs off Diamond in the first two innings and collected a 7-3 victory before a crowd of 3,571 at Coolray Field.

Diamond’s last outing here was a far more successful.

INSTANT REPLAY

G-BRAVES 7, RED WINGS 3

What happened: Gwinnett got to former G-Braves starter Scott Diamond early and scored five runs in the first two innings. That was enough to beat Rochester for the second straight night. The most significant damage came in the second when three doubles helped Gwinnett break up a 2-2 tie with three runs.

Back-to-back: Brandon Hicks and Wilkin Ramirez went yard in consecutive at-bats in the eighth, just the second time this season the G-Braves have hit back-to-back homers. The last time was also Ramirez, with Mauro Gomez, against Norfolk on April 11.

Web gem: Left-fielder Matt Young stretched out to make a diving snag of a well-struck ball by Brian Dinkelman and help limit the damage in the first inning. With the bases loaded, Dinkelman ripped it to shallow left. Young charged in and grabbed it just before it hit the grass. One run scored, but that was all as Yohan Flande induced a pop-up to second to end the threat.

Century mark: Ed Lucas stole the 99th and 100th bases of his minor-league career within minutes of each other in the second inning. There was no throw either time, but Lucas slid safely into third just moments after stealing second.

Returning: Catcher J.C. Boscan played for the first time since May 5 and started for the first time since May 2. Boscan suffered a thigh injury, but never went on IR. He returned to the lineup Thursday and batted ninth.

An app for that: Gwinnett is releasing a mobile application for Android and iPhone users today. The app includes seven information sections and is available at www.gwinnettbraves.com/mobileapp or by searching Android Marketplace and iTunes.

On deck: Rochester wraps up its series in Gwinnett today at 7:05 p.m. LHP Mike Minor (2-1, 2.22 ERA) is scheduled to get the start against the Red Wings’ RHP Andy Baldwin (2-3, 6.68). The G-Braves then hit the road for Lehigh Valley.

The lefty threw a two-hit, complete game shutout in Gwinnett’s home finale on Aug. 30. Diamond struck out eight and allowed just one walk in the nine-inning win.

Returning, Diamond lasted just 21⁄3 innings and allowed five runs on six hits. His relief, Kyle Waldrop, kept the G-Braves

off-balance. He retired 11 straight batters after entering the game in the third and threw 32⁄3 perfect innings to keep the Red Wings in striking distance.

Until Brandon Hicks and Wilkin Ramirez smashed back-to-back home runs over the center-field fence in the eighth, anyway.

“We added a couple runs, a couple homers, in the eighth, which is always nice for a manager,” skipper Dave Brundage said. “We took advantage of the base on balls and we showed some patience early on. I thought that was important.”

Yohan Flande, making just his second start of the season, picked up the win with three runs allowed on nine hits. Flande’s last start, a no-decision, was also a five-inning effort against Rochester.

“He was just OK tonight,” Brundage said. “But I thought after the first two innings, he threw strikes and that was important. Early on, he kind of struggled with command.”

As did Diamond.

He walked the first two batters he faced on eight straight pitches and a sacrifice fly by Mauro Gomez scored lead-off man Jordan Schafer.

Stefan Gartrell’s bouncer was misplayed by third baseman Chase Lambin and Matt Young scampered home to give Gwinnett a 2-1 lead in the first.

Rochester tied it on an RBI single from Jason Repko in the second. But Repko got caught in a rundown going for extra bases and, for the second straight inning, Gwinnett avoided significant damage.

The Red Wings stranded three runners in the first two innings.

The G-Braves did as well — but first they were able to manufacture three more runs in the second. A trio of doubles from Ramirez, Shawn Bowman and Schafer, helped pushed Gwinnett to a 5-2 lead.

“The pace of the game picked up after a slow start,” Brundage said. “We put some runs on the board. After the third, the game had a nice pace. We threw strikes, pounded the zone and did what we’re supposed to do with a lead.”