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Duke shines as G-Braves lose ninth straight

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Syracuse Chiefs received eight strong innings from starting pitcher Zack Duke and handed the Gwinnett Braves their ninth straight loss with a 5-2 win Sunday night at Alliance Bank Stadium.

The G-Braves dropped to third place in the International League South standings, one game behind Norfolk, as the Tides won their fifth in a row with a 9-2 win at Toledo on Sunday.

After rain delayed the start of the game for almost two hours, the G-Braves took the early lead as lead-off man Luis Durango laid down a bunt single, stole second base and moved to third on a throwing error by Syracuse catcher Jeff Howell. Durango scored from third on a ground out to short by Josh Wilson, giving Gwinnett a 1-0 lead.

The Gwinnett lead lasted only half an inning as the Chiefs took the lead for good in the bottom of the first. Corey Brown led off with a double and moved to third on a single by Erik Komatsu. Brett Carroll lifted a sacrifice fly to right that scored Brown to tie the game, 1-1. After recording the second out, Braves starter Jose Lugo yielded a walk to Mark Teahen and a single to Carlos Rivero to load the bases. Lugo then walked Jarrett Hoffpauir to push across Komatsu, giving Syracuse the, 2-1, lead. Lugo walked Howell which scored Teahen to give the Chiefs a 3-1 lead.

The G-Braves cut into the lead in the top of the third, as Durango singled and scored again from first on a double deep to left by Wilson to make it 3-2 Syracuse. That would be the last run the G-Braves would score on the night.

Lugo (1-3) worked four innings and surrendered 10 hits, four earned runs and four walks, while he struck out five. Buddy Carlyle worked two innings, striking out four and his lone blemish was a Komatsu solo blast. Cory Gearrin worked two scoreless innings and yielded one walk alongside two strikeouts.

Duke (9-3) pitched eight solid innings and allowed seven hits, two earned runs, two walks, while striking out two. Henry Rodriguez worked a scoreless ninth for his second save, as he walked two and struck out one.

Durango and Wilson led the Braves offensively, as both went 2-for-4. Wilson drove in both G-Braves’ runs.

Komatsu was the hitting star for Syracuse, going 4-for-5 with a homer, RBI and three runs, while Brown and Marrero each had two hits.

The G-Braves and Chiefs end their four-game series Monday night . The Braves will have right-hander Eric Junge (4-7, 4.71) on the mound against Chiefs right-hander Mitch Atkins (5-5, 4.31). First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Alliance Bank Stadium as Gwinnett looks to avoid its season-high 10th straight loss.