LAWRENCEVILLE -- A day after the Atlanta Braves returned Todd Redmond, new and unused, to the Gwinnett Braves, the right-hander showed no signs of anger or disappointment.
Redmond, a constant in the Gwinnett Braves lineup since the team moved to Lawrenceville, worked at a pace quick even for him despite the 80 degree midday temperatures.
Redmond pitched well, striking out nine batters over six innings with three walks. But the four runs he allowed were too many for the G-Braves to overcome in a 4-2 loss to end the series with the Indians and a forgettable homestand.
"It was a great opportunity, especially going to New York for the first road trip, it was an honor just to get called up for the first time," Redmond said. "But, I am just glad I could get in the ball game."
With the loss, Gwinnett is now 5-16 in June and lost seven of nine on this homestand, including six straight to end it. The G-Braves' two wins came in a two-game doubleheader sweep of Columbus.
"Somehow, someway, we have to find a way," manager Dave Brundage said of breaking out of the losing skid. "We've got to swing the bats, we have to play better as a team, collectively."
Gwinnett has been ravaged with the injuries in Atlanta, especially on the mound. It's a transition unique to minor league baseball, specifically Class AAA.
"It put a lot of strain on our bullpen," Brundage said. "The last three or four games, it's not like I've even looked up to see what matchup we are going to go. It's more the fact of who is available and which guys haven't pitched.
"They've responded, they've done a decent job."
And Redmond's six inning help ease the strain.
Redmond allowed the first run in the third inning, giving up a lead-off double to Brian Friday. From there, the Indians small-balled Friday home. Pitcher Rudy Owens sacrificed him to third and Gorkys Hernandez grounded out to second for an RBI and the 1-0 lead.
After the G-Braves stranded their third runner of the game in the bottom of the third, Redmond gave up back-to-back doubles to start the fourth as the Indians made it 2-0. The inning ended with a double play fly ball with Luis Durango making the catching coming running forward and throwing out the tagging Jeff Larish at the plate. The throw reached catcher J.C. Boscan in time to apply a standing tag as Larish attempted to run through him. Boscan got the out and the take-down.
The out mattered.
Ruben Gotay tied the game in the bottom half with his first home run of the season, scoring Ernesto Mejia who led the inning off with his 18th double.
"I hit it hard," Gotay said. "It was a good swing."
It was Gotay's first home run since Aug. 7 of last season and when he singled in the eighth he capped his first multi-hit game since joining Gwinnett June 5.
The two-hit game upped Gotay's average to .132. When he joined Gwinnett from Las Vegas in the Pacific Coast League, he was hitting .346.
"It's not easy facing different pitchers," Gotay said. "I just have come every day with the desire to play hard. I have been working my butt off.
"Sometimes you get frustrated because when you work you want to see results."
The tie lasted until the sixth. With two on, two out and two strikes, Brandon Boggs doubled down the right field line, clearing the bases and retaking the lead for Indianapolis 4-2. The ball just touched the chalk with the right fielder Stefan Gartrell shading Boggs to center. A bad break in another close game.
"That's not the first ball that has just landed on the line in the last two," Brundage said. "Those are the type of things that happen when you are losing ball games and not playing winning baseball."
The sixth ended Redmond's outing and gave way to reliever and fellow former Atlanta bullpen pitcher Cory Gearrin. Gearrin pitched two scoreless innings, allowing just one walk, keeping Gwinnett within striking distance and the chance came in the eighth.
Stefan Gartrell and Gotay each single with two outs and pinch-hitter Felix Pie loaded the bases with a third single to shortstop. But catcher Jose Yepez watched a close strike two and then swung through the next pitch to strand all three runners.
"If they were consistent all the time, they wouldn't be here," Brundage said. "If they were swinging the bats, putting up dominant performances on the mound and if they were playing good defense they wouldn't be here. I understand that aspect of it.
"We've got to get them playing better defense, consistent pitching and timely hits and get them throughout the lineup."