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G-Braves fall to Clippers

LAWRENCEVILLE — Columbus second baseman Cord Phelps went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, leading the Clippers to a 6-2 victory over the Gwinnett Braves on Sunday afternoon at Coolray Field.

The G-Braves out-hit the Clippers 11-9, but managed just two runs in front of a Father’s Day crowd of 6,932. With the win, Columbus clinches the season series, 5-3.

The G-Braves have now lost 14 of their last 19 games, including two straight to Columbus. Gwinnett finds itself four games behind the Charlotte Knights for first place in the International League South Division. Charlotte also lost on Sunday, falling 2-1 to Indianapolis.

Columbus jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third inning when Phelps blasted a two-run home run off starter Yohan Flande. The line drive to left skipped off the brick retaining wall for Phelps’ seventh homer of the season, also bringing home Jason Donald.

Gwinnett tied the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the third against Columbus starter Zach McAllister. Following back-to-back one-out singles by Josh Wilson and Jose Constanza, speedster Luis Durango reached on a fielder’s choice to drive in Wilson. Tyler Pastornicky followed with a sharp line-drive double into the left-center gap, scoring Durango from first and tying the game.

Phelps, however, delivered again in the fifth to put Columbus back ahead, 3-2. Ezequiel Carrera doubled and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Donald, then scored as Phelps lifted a sacrifice fly to right.

Flande (3-5) went six innings for his fifth quality start as he surrendered three runs on seven hits. The southpaw walked two and struck out two, throwing 107 pitches, 64 for strikes.

Newest G-Brave Billy Bullock, promoted from Double-A Mississippi to take the place of Todd Redmond, kept Gwinnett in the game as he worked a pair of scoreless innings. Bullock walked four, including three to load the bases in the eighth, but escaped unharmed.

The same could not be said for Adam Russell in the top of the ninth. With the G-Braves still trailing 3-2, Russell loaded the bases on two walks and a single and yielded a bases-loaded walk to Matt LaPorta and an RBI single to Jared Goedert. Jaye Chapman came on with no outs and the bases full and walked in another run before getting out of the jam. Russell would end up with three earned runs in the inning as the Clippers built a commanding 6-2 lead.

Felix Pie led off the ninth with a single, but the G-Braves offense couldn’t pull off a comeback. The Columbus relief combination of Matt Langwell, Scott Barnes and Chris Ray allowed four hits and struck out five over three scoreless innings.

McAllister (5-2) earned the win for the Clippers with two runs on seven hits over 6.0 innings. The right-hander walked one and struck out two.

Constanza (3-for-5) and Wilson (3-for-4) each notched three-hit games, while Pastornicky (2-for-4, RBI) and Pie (2-for-4) each had two-hit games in the loss for Gwinnett.

The G-Braves (37-34) continue the homestand with a four-game series against the Indianapolis Indians (40-29) on Monday night at Coolray Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM with G-Braves southpaw Jose Lugo (1-1, 3.30) set to make the start against Indianapolis right-hander Rick VandenHurk (4-0, 1.14).