PAWTUCKET, R.I. — The Gwinnett Braves hit a season-high five home runs and held on to beat the Pawtucket Red Sox, 11-8, in Game 3 of the four-game series. The G-Braves never trailed in the game, but had to hold off a furious rally by the Paw Sox in the bottom of the ninth.
Yohan Flande (3-4) worked five innings for the win. He allowed five hits, two earned runs, three walks and struck out four. Buddy Carlyle worked two innings, with three hits and one earned run. He also struck out three. Hughes pitched the eighth and allowed one hit and one earned run with one strikeout. Adam Russell went 0.1 innings with six hits and surrendered four earned runs. Anthony Varvaro pitched to two batters in the ninth with two strikeouts for his second save.
In the top of the first, Luis Durango singled to center with one out, moved to third on a single to center by Tyler Pastornicky and scored when centerfielder Ryan Larish misplayed Pastornicky’s hit. Ernesto Mejia (12) followed with a long, two run homer to left center to give the G-Braves a 3-0 lead after a half inning. Mejia has now hit a home run in all three games played in the series.
The G-Braves upped the lead to 4-0 as Lance Zawadzki (2) led off the top of the second with a solo homer to right. In the top of the fourth, Zawadzki (3), a native of nearby Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, hit another solo home run to right for his second of the game and third of the season.
Flande allowed the first of his two runs in the bottom of the fourth, as Alex Hassan doubled home former G-Brave Mauro Gomez.
In the top of the fifth with the bases loaded and two out, Zawadzki again came through for Gwinnett with a two-run single that put the G-Braves on top 7-1.
Jose Constanza led off the next inning with a single, Durango walked, and a double steal moved them to second and third. Pastornicky plated Constanza from third with a groundout to short. The G-Braves were up, 8-2 after five and a half innings.
The Red Sox scored a run off Carlyle in the bottom of the six to trim the lead to 8-3; and then in the bottom of the eight, a solo homer by Lars Anderson (8) off Hughes made it 8-4.
Gwinnett's biggest inning came in the top of the ninth, as Mejia led off the inning being hit-by-a-pitch from reliever Clayton Mortensen. Felix Pie (1) followed with a two-run homer, his first of the season, to up the lead to 10-4. Josh Wilson (3) then blasted a solo home run just two batters later to make it 11-4 Gwinnett heading to the bottom of the ninth.
In the final frame, the Paw Sox touched Russell for six hit and four runs in only one third of an inning. The Sox had runners on second and third and the tying run at the plate, when the G-Braves made the call for Varvaro. The New York native calmly struck out Tony Thomas and pinch-hitter Nate Spears to end the threat and the game.
Coyners, Georgia, native Billy Buckner (L, 0-1) picked up the loss. The PawSox starter worked 4.2 innings and gave up nine hits, seven earned runs, with three walks. He also gave up three of the G-Braves five homers. Will Inman worked 0.1 of an inning with one hit, one walk and one strikeout. Daniel Bard pitched the sixth and gave up one hit, one earned run with one walk and two strikeouts. Mortensen worked the final three innings and surrendered three hits, two homers, three earned runs and struck out two.
Gwinnett had a 14-hit night, led by Zawadzki who was 3-for-5 with two homers and four RBIs. Durango was 3-for-4, whereas Pastornicky, Mejia and Wilson each collected two hits.
The Paw Sox had 15 hits led by Anderson and Hassan who each had three hits. Kalish, Ryan Lavarnway and Gomez all registered multiple-hit games.
The Gwinnett Braves (35-30) and Pawtucket Red Sox (40-25) will play the finale of their four-game series on Tuesday night. Right-hander Kris Medlen (0-1, 4.91) is scheduled to start for the G-Braves against the Paw Sox right-hander Brandon Duckworth (6-1, 4.22). First pitch set for 7:05 p.m.