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G-Braves' Monday collapse lingers in second straight loss

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Two games after the Gwinnett Braves finished off a stretch of the biggest offensive output of the season, the bats never woke up Tuesday.

In the final of a quick two-game series with Norfolk, Gwinnett managed just three hits and only two runners reached second base in an 8-0 loss to the Tides.

"We had back-to-back games in Durham where everything we hit dropped, and you get games like that" manager Dave Brundage said. "Things kind of snowballed on us today."

Gwinnett fell behind 3-0 in the top of the second when No. 9 hitter Jamie Hoffmann's fly ball to left field just sailed over the leaping glove of Jose Constanza, who momentarily appeared to catch the ball. The homer was Hoffmann's ninth of the season and the second home run allowed in as many starts by Flande. Until the Aug. 16 homer, Flande had gone six appearances without giving up a long ball.

Things went from bad to worse for Flande in the fourth. He walked a pair of batters to load the bases and then allowed a two-run, two-out single to L.J. Hoes digging Gwinnett into a 5-0 hole.

"They come out and get that three-run home run, you kind of felt it," Brundage said. "It's the kind of ballgame where you need to come out and pop a few runs to get us started and it didn't happen."

Flande left after escaping trouble in the sixth inning. After the first two runners reached base, Flande coaxed a groundout by Hoes and then Steve Tolleson tried to take home on a pick-off move to first base. Mejia easily caught Tolleson stealing, saving Flande any more runs.

Flande left the game trailing 5-0 after six innings, the runs allowed off nine hits with three walks and four strikeouts.

One run would have been enough to sink the G-Braves, who struggled against Norfolk's Dana Eveland a night after blowing a three-run lead in the ninth. The lefty allowed just three hits over seven innings and struck out five. He didn't walk a batter in earning his fifth win of the season and second against Gwinnett this season. Converted reliever Brian Matusz pitched a scoreless eighth and Pat Egan pitched a perfect ninth.

"Last night's ballgame had a definite impact on today's ballgame," Brundage said.

After Flande's exit, the beleaguered bullpen continued to struggle. After quickly getting two outs with just one baserunner, Dusty Hughes gave up a single and then walked three straight batters to let two runs score. The lefty couldn't get out of the inning, giving way to Peter Moylan, who needed just two pitches to get Hoes to ground out and end the scoring at 7-0.

Moylan allowed one hit in the next inning, but stranded the runner. It was the first multi-inning appearance for Moylan since joining the G-Braves and the first time he didn't allow a run since Aug. 15.

"I feel good," said Moylan, working his way back from shoulder surgery. "This is the first time I've really pitched on a consistent basis since 2010. It's about consistency now."

Corey Gearrin pitched the ninth inning and walked in a run. He allowed a single and struck out two, but walked three batters in the inning, including Ryan Adams on four pitches to push across Norfolk's eighth run.

Gwinnett has used 16 pitchers in the past three games heading into today's off day; the final off day of the season.

"I think everybody could use it," Brundage said.

Tides 8, G-Braves 0-- What happened: Gwinnett managed just three hits off Nofolk's Dana Eveland and the pitching combined to give up eight runs in the G-Braves second straight loss. Yohan Flande took the loss for Gwinnett, pitching six innings and giving up five runs off nine hits. He walked three and struck out four. Reliever Dusty Hughes pitched of an inning and walked in a pair of runs and Corey Gearrin ended a stretch of six straight strikeouts in the ninth, walking in the final Tides' run. Tides catcher Ronnie Paulino scored twice on a 2-for-4 night and Nos 8 and 9 hitters Steve Tolleson (2-for-4, run, RBI) and Jamie Hoffmann 2-for-3, three-run home run) each had two hits.

-- Chasing Wes: Jose Constanza's on-base streak now stands at 38, 10 off the team record 48 held by Wes Timmons.

-- Easy RBIs: The final three runs Norfolk scored Tuesday came on bases-loaded walks, two by Dusty Hughes and one by Corey Gearrin.

-- Up next: Gwinnett gets today off before beginning the final homestretch of the season with four games against Syracuse. Sean Gilmartin (1-1, 3.20 ERA) gets the start for Gwinnett.