LAWRENCEVILLE — Even with the sour end, the G-Braves hit the road after a solid homestand.
Gwinnett split its doubleheader with Toledo on Monday, taking the first game 3-2 in eight innings and falling in Game 2, 7-4, in the doubleheader regulation seven innings.
The loss was the first, and only of the regular season, to the Toledo Mud Hens. Gwinnett ends the season series 7-1 against Toledo and it hits the road winners of six of its past seven and salvage a 6-5 homestand after dropping four of the first five. Gwinnett is now 23-9 all time against the Detroit Tigers affiliate.
The G-Braves open a series with Buffalo tonight and then head to Syracuse for four before returning to Gwinnett on May 24.
In Game 1, the scheduled seven-inning game went eighth and it was catcher Jose Yepez coming away with the game-winning RBI sacrifice fly for the 3-2 win.
In his first at-bat since waving at strike three with two on, two out and the game tied in the sixth, Yepez didn't give Toledo reliever Jose Ortega the same satisfaction. Yepez popped a 1-1 pitch to centerfielder Quintin Berry whose throw didn't come close to the plate as Ernesto Mejia scored easily for the win.
In the low-scoring win, Gwinnett did most of its damage against the Mud Hens' bullpen, scoring the tying run in the sixth and the winning run in the eighth after outlasting Tigers top pitching prospect Jacob Turner.
The right-hander, making his first Class AAA start of the year pitched 5 1/3 innings, struck out four and walked two. He is credited with allowing two runs, but the second RBI hit came off reliever Darin Downs.
Gwinnett starter Eric Junge pitched six innings, striking out three and walking one. He allowed both runs off seven hits. Reliever Corey Gearrin pitched the final two innings, not allowing a hit, walking one and striking out one for his third win.
Gwinnett scored in the first inning off of Turner. The right hander allowed a single and stolen base by Luis Durango, the speedster's 20th of the season, and then Drew Sutton followed with an RBI double to give Gwinnett a 1-0 lead.
Toledo tied the game in the third on an RBI single by designated hitter Ryan Strieby to score Brent Dlugach with two outs. The Mud Hens took the lead in the top of the sixth of the starter Junge. Eric Patterson lead off the inning with a triple and Audy Ciraco brought him home with a single.
he G-Braves tied the game in the bottom half on an RBI single by Christian Marrero to score Mejia. The RBI came with two outs and put runners on second and third, but Yepez struck out the end the inning.
A fate he did not repeat in his second try.
Stefan Gatrell, who entered in the sixth as a pinch hitter to face the lefty Downs, went 1-for-1 with a single and an intentional walk. Mejia was 2-for-4 two two runs scored. Joey Terdoslavich continues to struggle, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, and was 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position. The third baseman, who sat out Game 2, is now hitting .188.
After the comeback in Game 1, the G-Braves couldn't find the same magic in Monday's second go-around.
Starting pitcher Yohan Flande's recent struggles continued with the right-hander, who didn't allow an earned run over his first four appearances and 19 2/3 innings, giving up four in the third innings off three hits, including a two-RBI triple by Strieby. The batter before, Justin Henry knocked in the other two with a bases-loaded single.
The inning ended Flande's night after 68 pitches. He left after allowing four runs off four hits with four strikeouts and one walk.
Gwinnett answered the offensive output with three of its own in the bottom of the third. Gartrell walked with two outs to load the bases and Ernesto Mejia followed with a two-RBI single, scoring Greg Paiml and Durango. Drew Sutton followed with an RBI double to score Gartrell and cut the deficit to 4-3.
The G-Braves got Flande off the hook for his third straight loss with a run in the fifth after Toledo starter Casey Crosby found his own control problems. Crosby walked Durango to lead off the inning. A wild pitch allowed the quick center fielder to advance to second. He moved to third on a Jose Constanza ground out and with two outs came home on a second wild pitch.
Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin took issue with the call, arguing the ball bounced off Mejia's bat, eventually drawing his second ejection of the series.
Despite the trouble, Croby improved his record to 4-2, pitching six innings and allowing four runs off four hits with nine strikeouts and four walks.
Toledo took the lead for good, with the help of a Gwinnett error in the sixth.
The relay to second on a double-play ball to the right side of the infield by Ciriaco went through the glove of shortstop Josh Wilson and into left field allowing Strieby to score. Eric Patterson added the insurance run on Jeff Frazier's RBI-groundout.
The runs came against reliever Jason Rice who came in after two perfect innings by Adam Russell. In one inning, the Mud Hens scored two unearned runs off one hit and one walk by Rice. It was Rice's first loss of the season. Dusty Hughes walked Strieby in the seventh with the bases loaded for the Mud Hens final run.
Gwinnett put two runners on in the seventh inning, but couldn't push across a run against Toledo reliever Chris Bootcheck, who picked up his eighth save.