LAWRENCEVILLE -- On the whole, the Gwinnett Braves' effort was a pretty good one in Friday night's game against Durham.
Unfortunately for the G-Braves, Matt Torra and the Bulls made sure that effort wasn't good enough.
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound starting pitcher threw seven strong innings, and the visiting Bulls made the most of three first-inning runs to come away with a 4-1 victory.
"Overall, I thought it was a good game of baseball," G-Braves manager Dave Brundage said afterward. "I know we gave up three in the first, but after that, I thought we played good defense ... I thought we swung the bats, ... we got good pitching throughout. Sometimes, you just tip your cap (to the other team)."
The game stated very inauspiciously for G-Braves starter Todd Redmond, who was tagged for a run on Rich Thompson's leadoff double and Jesus Feliciano's RBI single before the 7,907 fans at Coolray Field could settle into their seats.
Two outs later, Leslie Anderson launched a long two-run homer to straightaway center to increase Durham's lead to 3-0 by the end of the opening inning.
The veteran right-hander settled down from that point, however, scattering five hits and just one more run over the next five innings, and finishing his outing with eight strikeouts over six total innings.
"That's what he does," Brundage said of Redmond. "He gives up three in the first, makes a mistake to (Anderson), ... but he battled."
Unfortunately for Redmond (6-6), the G-Braves' offense couldn't give him much support as Torra (8-6) carved them up throughout the evening.
Ruben Gotay steered a solo home run just inside the right-field foul pole and just over the fence off Torra to pull Gwinnett to within 3-1 in the bottom of the second.
But the Bulls right-hander faced the minimum over the next five innings, giving up just a fourth-inning single to Felix Pie, who was promptly thrown out by Feliciano trying to stretch it into a double.
Ernesto Mejia finally broke up a string of 15 straight G-Braves to be retired with his single to left with one out in the seventh, but Torra got Christian Marrero on a fly ball to left and Gotay on a grounder to second to avoid any serious trouble.
He exited the game after throwing just 75 pitches, 55 for strikes, and giving up just three hits -- two to Pie -- and striking out two over seven innings.
"He threw strikes," Brundage said of Torra. "He worked ahead (in the count all night)."
The G-Braves looked like they might get to reliever Brandon Gomes when he entered the game in the eighth as Josh Wilson greeted the right-hander with a lead-off double to the gap in left-center.
And J.C. Boscan looked like he would add to that trouble by lofting a blooper that seemed destined to fall in shallow right field.
But Bulls second baseman Cole Figueroa left his feet and made a diving catch for the first out of the inning.
One out later, Jose Constanza extended the inning, and his current hitting streak to 13 games, with an infield single that put runners on first and third and brought the tying run to the plate with two outs.
But Thompson ran down Luis Durango's fly ball to the gap in left-center to end the threat, and Dan De La Rosa set down the G-Braves in order in the ninth to close out his 10th save of the season.
The loss came despite Gotay's homer, a solid start after the shaky first inning by Redmond, two hits from Pie and a solid debut from rookie right-hander Cole McCurry, who threw three shutout innings with two strikeouts out of the bullpen.
Those positives have Brundage convinced his team has taken a much more positive direction following a disastrous 15-game losing streak that plagued them in June.