LAWRENCEVILLE – Their 15-game losing streak relegated to a very bad memory, the Gwinnett Braves can go into the break for the AAA All-Star Game feeling a lot better about themselves.
At least the hitters certainly can.
The G-Braves got 14 hits and out-slugged Durham 11-9 on Sunday at Coolray Field for their sixth victory in the past eight games and moved into a tie with the Bulls for third place in the International League South.
After holding first place for 55 days, Gwinnett had fallen from the top of the standings to the bottom as both their hitting and pitching went into a funk during a 5-25 June.
The hitting appears back on track now. Julio Teheran’s pitching, however, is a different story.
Teheran, the pitcher of the year in the IL last season, got the victory against the Bulls despite giving up four homers and struggling once again even though he was handed a five-run lead in the first inning.
Teheran (6-5) gave up nine hits and seven runs in five innings, walking two and striking out two as his ERA ballooned to 4.92.
The right-hander from Colombia started the All-Star Futures Game a year ago and was 9-1 with a 1.79 ERA at the break en route to a 15-3 season. But he hasn’t been the same pitcher this season.
The Bulls showed that with their four home runs. Teheran has given up 12 homers in 75 innings after allowing just five in 144 2/3 with the G-Braves last year.
Gwinnett hit two homers on Sunday, with Ruben Gotay hitting a two-run blast and Tyler Pastornicky a solo shot. Luis Durango had three hits and Gotay, who had three RBIs, Pastornicky, Stefan Gartrell and Jose Yepez each contributed two.
The G-Braves (43-49) batted around in the first inning against Lance Pendleton, scoring their five runs on six hits and a sacrifice fly as Gotay and Yepez had RBI doubles.
Teheran gave up a three-run homer in the second inning to Reid Brignac. But the G-Braves scored three times in the third highlighted by Gotay’s two-run homer as they again sent nine batters to the plate again.
Pendleton (4-3) gave up 10 hits and eight runs in his 2 2/3 innings, striking out three, walking a batter and hitting another.
Rich Thompson led off the fifth inning for Durham with his first homer of the season and two more round-trippers followed against Teheran. Henry Wrigley connected after two outs and Chris Gimenez, who finished 4-for-4 with four RBIs, smashed a two-run blast to make it 8-7.
But Pastornicky hit a two-run in the sixth inning and Durango had an RBI in the seven to push the G-Braves lead back to four runs.
Gwinnett needed the cushion because Adam Russell allowed two runs in the ninth before striking out the potential tying run at the place to end the game.
The only effective G-Braves pitcher was Dusty Hughes, who pitched three scoreless innings while giving up two hits.
Ernesto Mejia, who will be the starting first baseman for the International League against Pacific Coast League on Wednesday in Buffalo, had a hit and drove in his 59th run for Gwinnett. He is batting .302.
The G-Braves follow the break with an eight-game road trip to Louisville and Indianapolis begining on Thursday. The next home game is July 20, when Scranton/Wilkes-Barre comes in to start an eight-game homestand.