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Scranton/Wilkes Barre gets offensive on G-Braves again

LAWRENCEVILLE -- In a game of big rallies, Scranton/Wilkes Barre struck earlier and more often than the Gwinnett Braves.

An eight-run outburst in the top of the first and a a three-run rally in the sixth counteracted the G-Braves' sixth-run fifth, allowing the Yankees to roll to a 13-8 win Saturday night before 6,923 fans at Coolray Field.

For the second straight night, Scranton pounded Gwinnett pitching, this time for 15 hits, with Kevin Russo finishing 4-for-5 with a triple and an RBI and Brandon Laird went 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs.

Brent Leach, who was making his G-Braves debut after being called up from Double A Mississippi was the biggest victim of the Scranton onslaught.

Scranton sent 12 men to the plate in a top of the first lasted that lasted 30 minutes. The first five Yankees reached base before Leach could record an out.

The left-hander didn't help his own cause much by walking four hitters, including bases-loaded passes to Laird and Francisco Cervelli.

And when he was able to find the plate, Yankees hitters were all over his pitches.

After the two-bases loaded walks and Joseph's RBI double gave Scranton a 3-0 lead, Cole Garner jumped on an 0-2 pitch and lined it over the wall in straightaway left field for a grand slam -- Scranton's first in 80 team at-bats with the bases loaded dating back to July of last year.

That extended the Yankees' lead to 7-0 and spelled the end of the night for Leach. Reliever Buddy Carlyle didn't fare much better after striking out Ramiro Pena for the second out of the inning.

Chris Dicerkson and Russo belted back-to-back triples to push the lead to 8-0 before Carlyle bore down and struck out Joseph to mercifully end the inning.

Momentum slowly began to change, as Carlyle and Billy Bullock proceeded to shut down Scranton over the next four innings, combining to retire 11 straight Yankees at one point.

And the Gwinnett offense rewarded that effort by pounding out six hits -- including Stefan Gartrell's three-run home run -- and cashing in on a key Scranton error to score six times in the bottom of the fifth and pull to within 8-6.

But the G-Braves weren't able to complete their Atlanta-like comeback attempt, as Scranton had a quick answer off Bullock in the top of the sixth.

Five singles -- including Brandon Laird's two-out, two run single -- ignited a three-run rally that pushed the Yankees lead back to a comfortable five runs at 11-6.

Scranton then added single runs in the seventh and eighth -- the latter on Laird's solo homer, which gave him a 3-for-4 night with four RBIs.

The G-Braves tried one more time to get back into the game in the eighth, taking advantage of another error and Ruben Gotay's RBI triple to score twice to pull to within 13-8.

But the second run came home when Danny Farquhar came out of the bullpen, snagged J.C. Boscan's hot grounder up the middle to start a 1-6-3 double play, and then retired Luis Durango to avoid further trouble.

YANKEES 13, G-BRAVES 8-- What happened: Scranton/Wilkes Barre used two big innings to roll to the win. Four walks -- two with the bases loaded -- and three hits, including Cole Garner's grand slam, keyed the Yankees' eight-run first inning off left-hander Brent Leach in his Gwinnett debut. The Yankees then answered the G-Braves' six-run bottom of the fifth with three runs in the next half-inning, with the big blow coming on Brandon Laird's two-out, two-run single. Laird finished the game 3-for-4 with four RBIs, while Kevin Russo went 4-for-5 with a triple and an RBI. Stefan Gartrell blasted his 14th home run of the season, a three-run shot in the fifth.

-- Pivotal moment: Despite having given up a run in the top of the six, the G-Braves were still within reach down just three runs after Billy Bullock struck out Jack Cust for the second out of the inning. But Laird steered a grounder through the hole between third base and shortstop to score two runs and break the game open again.

-- Stat of the day: Scranton has pounded out 27 hits over the first two games of the series, 11 of which have gone for extra bases, including four triples. Back-to-back triples by Chris Dickerson and Russo in the first marked the first time the Yankees have hit two triples in the same inning all season.

-- Change of plans: After a successful one-inning appearance Friday night, it was originally planned for Atlanta reliever Jonny Venters to make one more outing today in his rehabilitation assignment to Gwinnett to test the elbow that had put him on the disabled list. However, those plans changed, and the left-hander was activated early Saturday and joined the Braves during their doubleheader in Washington against the Nationals.

-- Injury added to insult: Jordan Parraz left the game after being hit with a Ramon Ortiz fastball on the right wrist in the second inning. Unfortunately, it wasn't the first time that has happened this season to the G-Braves outfielder, who spent two months on the disabled list after being hit on a finger on the same hand May 8 against Buffalo at home. He was taken to a local hospital for X-rays, but his status was still unknown as of press time.

-- Up next: The four-game series with Scranton continues today at 5:05 p.m. at Coolray Field. The G-Braves will start left-hander Yohan Flande (4-7, 4.46 ERA), while the Yankees will send right-hander Adam Warren (5-6, 3.86 ERA) to the mound.