NORFOLK, VA. -- The Norfolk Tides used timely hitting and took advantage of erratic pitching to rally for a 7-5 win over the Gwinnett Braves in game three of their four-game series Thursday afternoon at Harbor Park.
The G-Braves' early lead came via the long ball, as Ruben Gotay (5) drilled a two-out solo homer to left for a 1-0 Gwinnett lead in the top of the second. In the bottom of the second, Luis Exposito (4) matched Gotay's blast with a two-out solo homer of his own, tying the score at 1-1.
Gwinnett edged ahead, 2-1, in the top of the third as Luis Durango led off with a single, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI sacrifice fly to left by Ernesto Mejia. The RBI gives Mejia 88 on the season as he leads the International League.
In the top of the fourth, J.C. Boscan (3) lifted a solo homer to left, putting the Braves up 3-1, his third of the season.
The Tides battled back to tie it in the bottom of the fifth off Gwinnett starter Yohan Flande. Exposito singled to left and moved to third on a double by Brandon Waring. With two outs, Ryan Adams hit a bouncing ball in back of the bag at third, which Gotay made a good stop, but his wild throw allowed both Exposito and Waring to score, tying the game, 3-3.
Norfolk edged ahead in the sixth, as Jamie Hoffman singled with one out, moved to second on a wild pitch, then to third on a single to center by L.J. Hoes. Andy Russell entered the game from the Gwinnett bullpen and after recording the second out of the inning, surrendered an RBI single to Waring, putting Norfolk ahead, 4-3.
The G-Braves tied the game 4-4 in the top of the eighth as Gotay led off with a single, moved to second on a groundout, advanced to third on a single by Brian Friday and then Jose Constanza plated Gotay with a RBI sacrifice fly to left.
However, disaster stuck the G-Braves in the bottom of the eighth with Cole McCurry on the mound. After recording the first two outs, McCurry walked Jamie Hoffman, gave up a single to Hoes and walked Exposito to load the bases. The left-hander then walked Waring to push across Hoffman for a 5-4 Norfolk lead. The G-Braves brought Dusty Hughes in from the bullpen and he gave up a two-run single to Steve Tolleson, pushing the Tides lead to 7-4.
Gwinnett scored a run in the top of the ninth on an RBI single by Gotay, but that would be all.
McCurry (0-2) worked 0.2 innings for the loss, as he yielded one hit, three earned runs and three walks. Hughes was credited with 0.1 innings and one hit surrendered, meanwhile Flande, making his 24th start of the season, worked 5.1 innings, allowing eight hits, three earned runs and he struck out five.
Dana Eveland started the game for Norfolk and worked six innings, allowing eight hits, three runs, four walks and five strikeouts. Zach Phillips (W, 1-2) worked two innings for the win, as he gave up two hits and one earned run with one walk and one strikeout. Greg Burke (S, 1) worked the ninth with two hits, one earned run and two strikeouts for the save.
The G-Braves were led on the offensive end by Gotay, who went 3-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs. Durango and Mejia each had two hits and Friday was 2-for-2. Gwinnett left 12 runners on base a day after leaving 14 on base in a 5-2 loss to the Tides on Wednesday.
Hoes, Exposito, and Waring each had two hits for the Tides. Meanwhile, Ryan Adams went 3-for-4, Waring and Tolleson each collected two RBIs.