TOLEDO, Ohio — Jose Constanza’s sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th inning propelled the Gwinnett Braves to an exciting 2-1 win over the Toledo Mud Hens on Sunday afternoon at Fifth-Third Field in Toledo.
It was the fourth win in a row for Gwinnett, which maintains a four-game lead over Charlotte for first place in the International League South Division.
The game also featured the first AAA start for former National League All Star Jair Jurrjens since being optioned from Atlanta to Gwinnett. Jurrjens was solid, but did not figure into the decision. The right-hander worked seven innings, giving up four hits, one earned run and three walks while striking out four. He left with the game tied 1-1.
The G-Braves scored first, in the top of the first, as Luis Durango and Constanza opened the game with back-to-back singles putting runners on first and third with no one out. Drew Sutton hit into a 5-4-3 double play, scoring Durango from third for a 1-0 lead.
The Mud Hens tied the game in the bottom of the fourth off of Jurrjens. With one out, Jurrjens walked Matt Young, and with two outs, he walked Rawley Bishop. Former Georgia Tech star Eric Patterson then plated Young from second with a single to right to tie the game 1-1.
That would be all the scoring until the top of the 10th, as Jurrjens, left-hander Dusty Hughes and right-hander Jaye Chapman kept the Hens off the scoreboard the rest of the way.
The G-Braves finally broke through in the top of the 10th. Left-hander Darren Downs, who had struck out the side in the top of the ninth, was greeted by a double to left by Greg Paiml. Durango bunted Paiml to third, and Constanza then plated Paiml with the game winning sac fly.
Gwinnett had to hang on in the bottom of the 10th as a throwing error by Paiml after a ground ball to short enabled Omir Santos to go all the way to second base to begin the inning. Pinch runner Argenis Diaz, then moved to third on a fly out to right by Audy Ciriaco. With the tying run at third and one out, Chapman walked Brent Dlugach, putting runners at first and third. But Chapman struck out Quintin Berry and then got Justin Henry to foul out to left to end the game.
Chapman (1-1) worked the final two innings of the game. He allowed no hits and no runs while walking one and striking out two. Hughes relieved Jurrjens to begin the eighth and pitched a scoreless frame with two hits, no walks and no strikeouts.
Downs (0-1) got the loss working two innings with one hit, one earned run, no walks and three strikeouts. Left-hander Andy Oliver started the game for Toledo. He pitched six innings, gave up four hits, one earned run, walked four and struck out five. Right-hander Thad Weber pitched scoreless seventh and eighth innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.
At the plate, Durango was 2-for-4. Constanza, Stefan Gartrell and J.C. Boscan each had a hit. The double in the 10th by Paiml was the only extra base hit of the game. For Toledo, Berry and Henry each went 2-for-5.
The G-Braves (17-7) and Mud Hens (14-9) conclude the four-game series in Toledo Monday night with a 6:30 PM first pitch. Right-hander Julio Teheran (2-1, 3.78) gets the start for Gwinnett. Toledo pitches right-hander Adam Wilk (1-0, 0.00).