LAWRENCEVILLE --Just when it looked like Jair Jurrjens had turned the corner in his road back to the major leagues, the former National League all-star hit a detour Friday night.
It isn't easy to make a favorable impression when you have been sick for several days.
Looking nothing like the pitcher who had thrown eight scoreless innings in his previous start, a weakened Jurrjens was pounded by Charlotte for 10 runs (six earned) in 4 innings Friday night.
The Knights smacked three homers -- two by Dan Johnson -- off Jurrjens in the 10-3 victory before 6,089 at Coolray Field that cut the G-Braves' lead in the South Division of the International League to 1 -1/2 games.
The loss dropped Jurrjens' record to 3-3 and his ERA jumped back up to 5.56. He allowed 12 hits and walked two while striking out none.
Gwinnett will try to salvage a split of the two-game series tonight in the finale of a 10-game homestand. Kris Medlen, sent down by Atlanta to be stretched out as a starter, will pitch for the G-Braves.
Gwinnett took over sole possession of first place on April 13 and had owned at least a two-game lead since April 14.
Medlen will be limited to about 60 pitches or four innings in his first of three or so starts with the G-Braves. The right-hander threw 42 pitches in 2 innings on Monday in a relief appearance for the Braves.
Medlen was 1-1 with a 3.49 ERA and one save in 21 games out of the bullpen with Atlanta before being optioned. He was 5-0 with a 3.86 ERA in 14 starts for the Braves in 2010 before suffering an elbow injury and needing Tommy John surgery.
Jurrjens rebounded from two rough outings on the road to blank Rochester on three hits over eight innings in a 1-0 victory at Coolray Field last Sunday, striking out five and walking none. But he wasn't sharp from the beginning this time after several days under the weather.
Charlotte scored four runs (three earned) in the second inning as Jurrjens gave up two doubles, a single and a walk. Then the Knights increased their lead to 5-1 in the third inning as Johnson picked on a high 0-1 pitch and drove his 12th homer of the season over the Charlotte bullpen in right field.
The G-Braves cut the Charlotte lead to three with a run in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Jose Yepez. But things went from bad to worse for Jurrjens in the fifth.
Johnson hit his 13th homer, picking on a 3-and-1 pitch this time, as he again sent a blast over the Knights' bullpen. Hector Gimenez followed with a long blast to right field on a 0-and-1 pitch for his sixth homer of the season.
Then shortstop Tyler Pastornicky, playing his first game for the G-Braves, committed a two-out throwing error and the Knights went on to score three more runs and increase their lead to 10-2.
Gwinnett made it a seven-run game with an unearned run in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Christian Marrero.
Pastornicky, batting second in the lineup, had an infield single in his first at-bat and stole a base before coming around to score Gwinnett's first-inning run on a single by Felix Pie.
Pastornicky, who hit .365 in 27 games with Gwinnett last season, was batting .248 and had committed seven errors in 45 games when sent down by the Braves. Andrelton Simmons was promoted from Class AA Mississippi to play shortstop for Atlanta.
Pastornicky was 1-for-5 as the G-Braves were out-hit 16-9 by Charlotte. Jordan Danks had three hits for the Knights and Ernesto Mejia had three for Gwinnett.
Charles Leesman (5-4) got the victory, working five innings while lowering his ERA to 2.50.