Gwinnett stays unbeaten vs. Norfolk with 9-2 win

LAWRENCEVILLE -- After riding a strong rehab performance by Tim Hudson to a win Wednesday night, the G-Braves faced a big-leaguer Thursday afternoon.

Regardless, they found the same results.

Making his season and American professional debut, Tides pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada, an off-season signee from Japan, struggled against the Gwinnett Braves lineup. The lefty, who pitched nine seasons in Japan, allowed six runs off six hits and walked four in just 2 innings as the G-Braves rolled to a 9-2 win and series sweep over the Tides.

Gwinnett is now 7-0 against Norfolk this season.

"I hope it carries over (to Charlotte)," G-Braves manager Dave Brundage said. "The game of baseball is full of ups and downs. Things start to propel. I look back to the game we played against (Norfolk) were we came back down seven. We have played great baseball since then."

No comeback needed Thursday.

The G-Braves scored three runs in the first inning and three more in the third off of Wada, chasing the starter who expected to throw about 100 pitches in his first outing. He left after throwing 77, just 39 for strikes.

Stefan Gartrell got the scoring started with an RBI single that scooted past Norfolk shortstop Blake Davis. A Class AAA all-star last season, Gartrell has struggled in the early part of this season, but the outfielder went 2-for-3 Thursday with two walks and two runs scored.

Jordan Parraz followed with a two-RBI double to score two more in the first. The designated hitter went 3-for-5 with four RBIs and a run scored for the G-Braves.

"If that is the way we are going to do it (score early), we might as well do it that way," Brundage said. "I can live with that."

And with a three-run lead, starting pitcher Eric Junge turned in his best outing of the year.

The right-hander, making his third start of the season, pitched six scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and striking out two. Only one runner reached second base against him and he retired 15 out of 17 batters at one point. Young is now 2-1 on the season with a 4.50 ERA. The 35-year-old has allowed two earned runs in his last 11 innings.

"He did a great job pitching with a lead," Brundage said. "He is the perfect guy (with a lead). He pounded the zone, threw strikes, kept them off balance. He did an exceptional job today, pitching with a lead, we never did let them up for air."

Gwinnett ended Wada's outing in the third. Gartrell walked and Ernesto Mejia followed with his second home run of the season. Wada walked the bases loaded before turning the game over to Steve Johnson, who walked in a run before ending the third inning. Mejia ended the game 2-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Only Jordan Parraz's four RBI game and 3-for-5 at the plate was better.

"I am just trying to keep my swing inside the ball and hit the ball hard somewhere," Mejia said. "I am having some good success now."

He took the cutter from lefty Wada and planted it near the G-Braves bullpen.

"It was a good shot," he said.

Norfolk avoided another shutout with two runs in the eighth off of reliever Jose Lugo. Lugo only recorded two outs in the inning, giving up two hits and walking three. Both runs scored via walks.

But Jaye Chapman ended the brief rally with one pitch in the eighth and then earned the save in the ninth.

Big league reliever Anthony Varvaro, activated before Thursday's game, pitched one perfect inning in his first rehab outing since going on the disabled list in spring training with a right pectoral strain.

"I thought he was sharp," Brundage said. "He threw his curveball for strikes and when he does that, he's hard to hit."


Gundoctor1 2 years, 8 months ago

We went to this game. I sure hope whoever signed this big league pitcher from Japan can get their money back. He was weak against the G Braves, albeit the G Braves looked great. I really thought a a shut out was coming. That's OK. 9-2 is good enough. Braves looked good at every position. If something does happen to any out fielder except that center fielder, he can cover for the rest of them. You may drop one in front of him, but you are not going to hit one over his head. He can fly.

Good job guys!!


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