Photo: Kyle Hess/Gwinnett Braves Gwinnett Braves outfielder Felix Pie hits a grand slam in the second inning against the Durham Bulls on Friday night at Coolray Field.
LAWRENCEVILLE -- By the fourth inning, Felix Pie already had two firsts for the Gwinnett Braves.
The speedy outfielder and once major league sensation with the Chicago Cubs hit the team's first grand slam of the season in the second and then took the single-game RBI total with a two-run single in the fourth. The six RBIs best Lance Zawadzki's five-RBI game on May 28 and it's the most for any Gwinnett player since Mauro Gomez knocked in eight runs at Norfolk last season. The grand slam was the first for the G-Braves since Brandon Hicks hit one in August 2011.
Pie's bat paved the way for a 13-1 win over the Bulls, the second straight win for the G-Braves who went 3-5 on the homestand after dropping the first three. The 13 runs came a run shy of tying the season record for runs in a game. Gwinnett scored 14 at Norfolk on March 11.
"It's a much better feeling, last night as well," Brundage said of winning back-to-back games.
Acquired in May by the Braves, Pie spent parts of the past five seasons in the majors with both the Cubs and the Orioles. He played in the Futures Game in 2003, 2004 and 2005 and with Gwinnett this season is hitting .292. He entered this season a career .299 hitter in the minor leagues. He went 3-for-4 with a double and homer and two runs scored Friday. He couldn't remember the last time he hit a grand slam.
"(Home runs) are not my game, doubles, triples singles," Pie said. "I was looking for a good pitch. Yesterday, they threw me a lot of pitches insides, so today I am waiting for the pitch inside. He throws it and I put a good swing on it."
In the offensive explosion, Pie wasn't the only G-Braves batter to shine.
Terry Tiffee, who hit his first home run of the season Thursday, went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a run scored and an RBI. The midseason acquisition is hitting .375 in nine games since joining the G-Braves from the independent team Lancaster Barnstormers.
"Having (transitioned to Class AAA from the independent leagues) last year, it's not that big of a transition. I know what to expect," Tiffee said. "I actually think it's easier to hit in this league because the guys will come after you.
"I feel better at the plate. I am just trying to go up there and have a good approach and hit the ball hard and see what happens."
And while the bats were hot, Yohan Flande kept the Bulls quiet.
After four rough outings that saw the lefty allow 19 runs in 19 innings -- in one start he only pitched of an inning -- Flande bounced back in a big way. Over seven shutout innings, the 26-year-old allowed just four hits, struck out four and walked two. No Bull reached past second base against him and 61 of his 98 pitches went for strikes. The win was his fifth of the season and second in his past two starts.
"I thought Flande pitched outstanding," Brundage said. "We've been waiting for someone to go seven innings. We have been taxed down there in our bullpen."
Flande pitched with the lead early on.
After a 1-2-3 first, the G-Braves bats came alive in the second. The first three batters reached and Tiffee, Jose Yepez and Luis Durango all knocked in runs. Then, with two runners on base Durham starter Jim Paduch hit major league rehab designated hitter Jack Wilson to load the bases. Three pitches later, Pie cleared them with a shot over the right field wall. His fourth home run of the season and the G-Braves led 7-0.
"I felt the baseball gods were on our side," Brundage said, alluding to the Wilson getting hit.
Gwinnett sent 10 players to the plate in the second, and even the three outs were on balls in play. The seven runs tied a season high for the G-Braves for runs in an inning.
Pie capped his RBI fest in the fourth with a bases-clearing two-RBI single to give the G-Braves a 9-0 lead.
"I feel good," Pie said. "The kind of game like that, after that, you feel good."
After Durham avoided the shutout with a bases-loaded walk by G-Braves reliever Billy Bullock, the bat attack continued.
Josh Wilson and Ruben Gotay each hit homers and Ernesto Mejia knocked in two more with a two-out double to make it 13-1.
Dusty Hughes threw a scoreless 1 innings to end the game.
-- What happened: Gwinnett earned a series split with Durham on the strength of a seven-run second inning as they blew out the Bulls. Starting pitcher Yohan Flande went seven scoreless innings allowing only six Durham batters to reach base in a four-hit performance. The G-Braves had three multi-run innings in the second, fourth and eighth in their 12-run shellacking of the Bulls. Luis Durango, Felix Pie, Ernesto Mejia, Terry Tiffee and Ruben Gotay all had multi-hit games with Pie, Gotay and Josh Wilson all hitting home runs.
-- More O: It was the fifth game in a row the G-Braves had more than 10 hits dating back to July 23.
-- Solid defense: The G-Braves did not have an error for the second straight game after recording at one in four of their last five.
-- Stat of the day: Felix Pie's 6 RBIs were the most by a G-Braves since Mauro Gomez tallied eight on Aug. 28 of last season. His second inning grand slam was the first for Gwinnett this season
-- Rehab watch: The Braves Jack Wilson, went 0-for-4 and was hit by a pitch in the second inning. Durham's DH, Evan Longoria went 0-for-3 with a walk in the eighth inning.
-- Up next: Gwinnett will send recently acquired pitcher Miguel Batista to the mound in tonight at Charlotte at 7:15 p.m.