LAWRENCEVILLE — After a 1-6 road trip, the Gwinnett Braves couldn’t have been happier to get back to Coolray Field.
For nearly four hours Monday night, it looked like their frustrations might have come home with them, though.
The G-Braves were 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position and had a potential winning run taken away from them in the 10th inning when Joey Terdoslavich’s double disappeared under the left-field fence.
But Tyler Pastornicky came through in the clutch in the 11th inning and Gwinnett could finally celebrate a 5-4 victory over the Norfolk Tides.
The G-Braves, which had swept Charlotte in a four-game series to start the season, are now a perfect 5-0 at home, tied with Norfolk at 6-6 overall.
For that, the G-Braves have Pastornicky to thank after not making the Tides pay earlier for four errors.
After failing to win the game in the ninth and 10 innings, Gwinnett opened the 11th with a single by Sean Kazmar and Matt Pagnozzi laid down a sacrifice bunt. Corey Wimberly’s grounder moved Kazmar to third base with two outs and Jose Constanza coaxed a walk out of Manny Delcarmen after fouling off five 3-and-2 pitches.
That brought up Pastornicky and he didn’t wait around, lining a single into left field on a 1-and-1 pitch to drive in Kazmar with the winning run.
Pastornicky, who had a hit and RBI grounder earlier, is batting .396 with seven RBIs on the season.
Until Pastornicky’s game-winning hit, the offensive star for the G-Braves had been Ernesto Mejia, who hit a two-run homer in the third inning. The first baseman also had a double and leads the International League with seven homers and 14 RBIs.
Terdoslavich could have been the hero in the 10th inning, though, if his double hadn’t disappeared under the left-field fence, with Constanza having to return to third base on the ground rule.
Delcarmen came in and got out of that jam, just as Mike Belfiore had done in the ninth. The G-Braves had a runner at third base and none out in that inning and couldn’t score.
Andrew Russell, who worked around two singles in the 10th inning, pitched a perfect 11th for Gwinnett and ended up getting the victory.
After retiring the Tides in order over the first two innings, G-Braves starter Daniel Rodriguez allowed three runs on three hits and a walk in the third. But Gwinnett scored four times in the bottom of the inning.
Gwinnett had four hits in the inning, including Mejia’s long homer to left field with one on. Terdoslavich had a RBI single and Pastornicky drove in a run with a groundout.
Ryan Buchter relieved Rodriguez after a pair of two-out walks in the fifth and got Russ Canzler on a called third strike to get out of the inning. But Danny Valencia led off the sixth with his first homer of the season to tie the game.
Rodriguez fanned six and walked four, throwing only 44 of his 82 pitches for strikes. Still it was progress for the left-hander.
Rodriguez returned to Mexico for the birth of a child after his previous start, when he lasted just a third of an inning at Durham on Tuesday and was charged with nine runs on seven hits and two walks.
Atlanta shortstop Paul Janish, who had surgery on his left shoulder after last season, began his rehab assignment with the G-Braves on Monday and was 1 for 4.
Notes: Gwinnett’s new start time for midweek games of just after 6 p.m. guaranteed that at least some the crowd 2,168 was still around at the end of the 3:36 game. … A familiar face will be on the mound Tuesday night for Norfolk. RHP Jair Jurrjens, signed by Baltimore as a free agent during the winter, will start for the Tides. He won 14 games once and 13 games twice for Atlanta before spending half of last season with Gwinnett trying to regain his form. Jurrjens is 0-1 with a 1.59 ERA in two starts. … LHP Sean Gilmartin, 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two games, is the scheduled starter for the G-Braves. … Norfolk manager Ron Johnson is the father of Atlanta 3B-1B Chris Johnson, who is off to a .405 start at the plate in his first season with the Braves.