Staff Photo: Jason Braverman
Gwinnett Braves' Matt Young gets a hit during Friday's game against the Rochester Red Wings at Coolray Field.
LAWRENCEVILLE — Mike Minor pitched a season-long eight innings, he struck out eight, threw 111 pitches, allowed four earned runs. At one point the lefty retired 10 straight Rochester batters.
All it did was earn him his second loss of the season.
With the Gwinnett Braves’ 5-2 loss to Rochester, Minor’s record falls to 2-2. This was the third of Minor’s eight starts in which Gwinnett scored two or less runs. The G-Braves only scored more than three runs twice in his outings.
Red Wings 5, G-Braves 2
• What happened: Gwinnett was just 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and couldn’t back up another solid performance by Mike Minor, dropping the series finale with Rochester. Minor went a season-long eight innings, struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter in his second loss of the season. Rochester starter Andy Baldwin matched Minor’s eight Ks in 62⁄3 innings for his third win. Matt Young, Daniel Nelson and Stefan Gartrell were all 2-for-4 for Gwinnett. Nelson and Young scored the team’s two runs.
• Stat of the day: After going 2-for-4 Friday against Rochester, Daniel Nelson is now hitting .384 with five runs scored, two doubles a home run and six RBIs in his four games since his return from the DL on Monday.
• Welcome back K: After striking out just three in his five inning outing against Toledo, Mike Minor was back to his K-ways Friday, sitting down eight Red Wings over eight innings.
• Pivotal moments: The G-Braves ended the fourth and fifth innings by grounding into double plays to end scoring threats.
• On deck: Gwinnett hits the road for two four-game series beginning 6:35 p.m. tonight at Lehigh Valley with RHP Rodrigo Lopez (6-0 2.21 ERA) facing off with LHP Ryan Feierabend (2-2, 5.73).
“They had a good game plan over there,” manager Dave Brundage said of Rochester. “They were aggressive on the first couple of pitches, knowing he pounds the zone.”
Shawn Bowman’s sixth error of the season led to Rochester’s run in the first inning when he threw a ground ball into right field allowing Ray Chang to score from first base. Rochester scored its first earned runs with a two-RBI double by the No. 9 hitter Danny Lehmann.
Minor’s four earned runs were a season high and upped his ERA to 2.56.
He pitched well enough to win, but so did Andy Baldwin.
The Rochester starter turned in one of his best outings of the year, allowing one run off seven hits in 62⁄3 innings. He matched Minor with eight strikeouts and walked just two. His eight K’s were the most since his second start April 17, when he pitched seven innings for one of his two wins of the season entering Friday.
“He threw strikes,” Brundage said. “We hit the ball hard. We were aggressive, made some hard outs.”
Despite its eight hits and three walks, Gwinnett stranded only six runners, ending two innings with double-play ground outs, but the team was 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
“(The double plays) take the momentum away a little bit,” Brundage said. “They stopped the rally a little bit.”
Both of the G-Braves runs came off lead-off doubles. In the second inning, Stefan Gartrell knocked in Daniel Nelson. Matt Young started the eighth with a double and scored on two consecutive ground balls. Young, Nelson and Gartrell were all 2-for-4. Brandon Hicks, owner of 20 strikeouts in his first 48 at-bats entering Friday, walked twice, including one to start the ninth inning.
“He’s feeling better about himself,” Brundage said of his utility player who sat on the bench in Atlanta much of the early part of the season. “He’s got to get the rust off. I think patience has been preached to him at times.”
Gwinnett hits the road for eight games in nine days, traveling through Lehigh Valley and Buffalo. The G-Braves are a winning ballclub on the road with a 13-5 record, compared to their 9-14 record at Coolray Field.
“We’ve played some good teams at home,” Brundage said. “I don’t see any difference in the effort.”