LAWRENCEVILLE — The Gwinnett Braves wore camouflage jerseys in honor of Memorial Day. But Julio Teheran’s pitches were easier to spot than usual.
The prized Atlanta prospect gave up nine hits and five runs over six innings as Lehigh Valley handed him his first Class AAA loss after four victories.
Teheran’s ERA rose from 1.65 to a still impressive 2.36 as the G-Braves fell 12-2 before a disappointed crowd of 6,906 at Coolray Field in the opener of an eight-game homestand.
IronPigs 12, G-Braves 2
What happened: Jeff Larish hit two homers and a triple, tying the Lehigh Valley team record with seven RBIs, as the G-Braves (25-25) opened a homestand with a lopsided loss to Lehigh Valley (31-19) on Monday night.
First loss: Julio Teheran suffered his first loss after four victories, giving up nine hits and six runs over six innings. He struck out three and walked two.
Saluting war vets: The G-Braves wore camouflage jerseys in honor of Memorial Day, but they could hide during the ugly loss. The jerseys were auctioned off during the game to aid local military families and raised $6,200.
Hit away: For the first time this season at Coolray Field, pitchers hit and Lehigh Valley started Eddie Bonine delivered a sacrifice fly his first time up and Tehean had a single in his second at-bat. Pitchers going to the plate only happens in the International League when National League farm teams play each other. Lehigh Valley is affiliated with Philadelphia.
Web gems: Gwinnett’s Matt Young made a diving catch in right-center field to end the IronPigs’ sixth inning and keep two runs from scoring. But Young was robbed himself by Lehigh Valley RF Delwyn Young in the eighth inning.
Hall of Famer: Ryne Sandberg, who signed dozens of autographs before the game, is in his first season managing Lehigh Valley after four years working in the Chicago Cubs’ organization. He was named manager of the year in the Pacific Coast League last year after leading Iowa to a tie for first place in its division.
Turnaround: Lehigh Valley never had a winning record in its first three seasons, but has led the Northern Division of the International League most of this season.
Where is he now?: Former Parkview and Georgia Tech pitcher Tim Gustafson signed with the Cincinnati organization after being released by Atlanta and has made one start for Carolina in the Class AA Southern League.
On deck: LHP Jose Lugo (1-0, 2.25 ERA) will make his first start for the G-Braves tonight after 11 relief appearances. RHP Brian Bass (3-2, 4.88 ERA) is Lehigh Valley’s scheduled starter in the 7:05 p.m. game at Coolray Field.
Jeff Larish had a team record-tying seven RBIs for Lehigh Valley (31-19) on two homers and a triple as Gwinnett (25-25) fell to .500 for the first time since being 3-3 on April 12.
Teheran faced Lehigh Valley in Allentown, Pa., last Tuesday and limited the IronPigs to six hits and an unearned run over six innings while striking out six and walking one in a 6-3 G-Braves victory.
But the 20-year-old right-hander didn’t have the same success this time. He pitched around a leadoff double by Scott Podsednik in the first inning, but gave up three runs in the second. The first four batters reached on three hits and a walk, with Larish delivering a two-run triple and scoring on a sacrifice fly by Lehigh Valley pitcher Eddie Bonine.
Larish got to Teheran again in the fourth inning, smashing an off-speed 1-and-2 pitch over the Lehigh Valley bullpen in right field with a runner on for his ninth homer of the season and two more RBIs.
Down 5-0, Gwinnett got a run back on Mauro Gomez’s 10th homer of the season in the bottom of the fourth. The G-Braves first baseman came in third in the International League with a .331 average and he leads the team in homers and RBIs (36).
Bonine departed after four innings having struck out six and walked none and Gwinnett made it 5-2 in the fifth against reliever Drew Carpenter (4-0) on an RBI hit by Stefan Gartrell that scored Teheran, who had singled for his first Class AAA hit.
But things went from bad to worse in the seventh inning after Juan Abreu replaced Teheran and Gomez committing an error on Podsednik’s leadoff grounder.
Larish capped the five-run inning with a three-run homer off Abreu on a 0-and-2 pitch that caught too much of the plate. Four of the runs in the inning were unearned as Larish raised his homer total to 10 and his RBI total to 26.
The IronPigs completed the rout with two unearned runs in the eighth inning set up on a throwing error by relief pitcher Rowdy Hardy.
The G-Braves returned home on a morning flight from Buffalo after going 3-5 on a two-city road trip that featured three rainouts and ended with three consecutive doubleheaders. Gwinnett went 1-3 at Lehigh Valley and then 2-2 at Buffalo, sweeping a doubleheader on Saturday and being swept on Sunday by the Bisons.
Equally taxing was the 12 roster moves made during the road trip, the most significant of which was Atlanta’s trade of veteran right-hander Rodrigo Lopez (6-1) to the Cubs. The veteran right-hander started Monday in Chicago against Houston and allowed 10 hits and six runs in 42⁄3 innings.
Left-hander Mike Minor, reliever Cory Gearrin and outfielders Jordan Schafer and Wilkin Ramirez were all promoted to Atlanta during the trip, but Ramirez was sent back down on Sunday. Minor is expected to return as well after starting for the Braves against San Diego tonight at Turner Field.
Right-hander Erik Cordier, who had offseason elbow surgery, joined the starting rotation on the trip and allowed just one hit and no runs in 42⁄3 innings in a no-decision at Buffalo on Saturday. He was 12-9 with a 3.82 ERA for Class AA Mississippi a year ago.
Other new faces for the G-Braves include outfielders Jeff Fiorentino and Antoan Richardson, both promoted from Mississippi. Atlanta signed veteran major league infielder Julio Lugo for Gwinnett, but he is on the restricted list while getting in playing time during extended spring training in Florida.