LAWRENCEVILLE -- Yohan Flande threw a gem for the Gwinnett Braves. Liam Hendriks' shined brighter and it was the bullpen that made the difference.
The Gwinnett Braves starter allowed one run off five hits over seven innings, easily his best outing of the year in his ninth start and 11th appearance.But he was matched by Rochester's Hendriks, who started the year with the Minnesota Twins. The right-hander matched Flande's seven innings, allowing one unearned run off five hits, striking out nine and walking just two.
When both left after seven, the game was tied.
The Gwinnett bullpen faltered first, with Adam Russell giving up a pair of runs in the eighth as the G-Braves went on to lose 3-1 in the first of four games against the Rochester Red Wings.
"It was a well-pitched ball game," G-Braves manager Dave Brundage said. "It came down to a couple of runs. We gave them some needless runs."
The two runs allowed were the first in 7 for the 6-foot-8 Russell, who watched his ERA jump from 2.37 to 3.15 in his first loss of the season.
"He's pitched very well," Brundage said of Russsell.
In a 26-pitch inning, Russell gave up two runs off three hits, hit a batter and it could have been worse. With two outs and the bases loaded, Sean Burroughs singled down the third base line. Gwinnett's Terdoslavich's caught Valencia off second base and in a rundown between second and third. When Pedro Florimon tried to score, Zawadzki fired the ball to catcher J.C. Boscan who made a diving tag for the third out.
Gwinnett's Jose Constanza reached on a error to begin the game and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Luis Durango, but then Hendriks got rolling. The Australian struck out the next two batters to escape the jam.
And Rochester took the lead in the next half inning.
A bloop to shallow right field by Matt Carson ended up a double when newly-acquired second baseman Lance Zawadzki and right fielder Stefan Gartrell watched the ball fall between them. Carson scored when Clete Thomas singled to left field and Gwinnett trailed 1-0.
"Maybe it's a little bit of being new, but that's Gartrell's ball," Brundage said.
Gwinnett tied the game at 1-1 with a two-out rally in the fourth inning, sparked by the bottom of the order. Numbers 7 and 8 hitters Josh Wilson and J.C. Boscan singled and Zawadzki knocked them home when his ground ball to third slipped past the Red Wings' Dany Valencia for a run-scoring error. The error was the first of two for Rochester.
But against Hendriks, Gwinnett sent the minimum to the plate the next three innings with the one hit erased by a caught stealing pick-off of Luis Durango, who had stolen his league-leading 22nd base earlier in the game.
"It was just a bad read," Brundage said. "It worked the first time. But like I told him, guys are going to make adjustments. Guys aren't going to make the same mistake twice, especially when you lead the league in stolen bases."
The G-Braves stranded runners in the eighth and ninth, never advancing past second. All eight hits for Gwinnett were singles.
"It was a hard-fought game, it just wasn't that well-played," Brundage said. "I thought the better team won tonight."