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Errors cost G-Braves vs. Tides

LAWRENCEVILLE -- With Freddie Garcia pitching the way that earned him a spot in the New York Yankees rotation a year ago, the Gwinnett Braves needed a flawless performance to match.

They didn't get anything close.

Gwinnett committed three errors, all which led to unearned runs, while Garcia dominated over 7 innings and the G-Braves lost again to the Tides 3-2.

"It's early. We are going to be fine," manager Randy Ready said. "We were a little sloppy defensively, but three double plays helped the cause."

It started in the first with an error by third baseman Alden Carrithers that allowed Chris Robinson to reach base with one out. Robinson scored on a two-out single by Niuman Romero, just beating center fielder Todd Cunningham's throw at the plate. The slightly offline throw beat the runner, but catcher Matt Pagnozzi's tag was ruled too late.

"Pretty close play at the plate," Ready said. "It was tough. I thought (umpire) John (Saphire) was going to take it out of his holster and call him out. But, you know, it's a bang-bang play, we can look at it a couple of different ways."

After the run, Cunningham saved an even bigger inning when he made a diving catch with the bases loaded running back and to his left to save three more runs from crossing.

"It was a great catch," Ready said. "We dodged a bullet right there."

Another one-out error in the sixth, this time from major league short stop Paul Janish, extended the inning for the Tides and set up a sacrifice fly to right field by Yamaico Navarro for another unearned run. In 55 games for the the Atlanta Braves last year, Janish made two errors and he has a career fielding percentage of .983.

"It happens like once a year," Ready said. "I get it. I am glad that it happened here and not in the big leagues."

In the seventh, it was second baseman Tyler Pastornicky's turn at the error, putting yet another runner on base with one out. This time it was Romero who reached and Russ Canzler knocked him home.

The three runs seemed like five against Garcia, who just kept dominating. He allowed his first hit on a bunt single by Jose Contanza to lead off the fourth, but Constanza was gunned down trying to steal second as Garcia faced the minimum through six.

"Freddie Garcia had all his pitches working well," Ready said. "He's a major league guy. You've got to be quick to make adjustments to his stuff."

The G-Braves finally broke through, slightly, in the seventh. Contanza doubled to lead off the inning and Ernesto Mejia, with two outs, doubled in Contanza. It was Mejia's 16th RBI on the season and his 13th straight game reaching base.

"It was a good experience," Mejia said of facing Garcia. "He was hiding the ball pretty good today. I feel really good at the plate with him. He did great work and I am glad I went 1-for-3."

But that was all the damage the G-Braves could muster off of Garcia, who coaxed a flyout by Jordan Parraz to end the inning.

Garcia left the game with two out in the eighth, allowing just the one run off four hits with three strikeouts in his second win. The performance overshadowed Gwinnett starter David Hale, who pitched 6 and allowed no earned runs off eight hits in his first loss. He walked two and struck out two.

It was a rebound performance for the Marietta native, who allowed eight earned runs off 10 hits with four walks in just 4 innings in his last start.

"It gets my confidence back and that's huge," Hale said.

McCurry pitched the final 2 scoreless, allowing just one hit and striking out two.

Pastornicky extended his hitting streak to eight straight when he doubled in the bottom of the ninth as the G-Braves attempted to rally.

"He's the go-to guy," Ready said of Pastornicky, who's hitting .390 on the young season. "He's working at it. That's what you have to do."

The one-out hit brought the tying run to the plate in sluggers Joe Terdoslavich, Mejia and Parraz. Terdoslavich was thrown out at first on a dribbler down the line that Tides closer Jairo Asencio tossed to first baseman Travis Ishikawa with his glove. Mejia nearly homered to right field, with the ball coming up just short and foul, before he drove in his second run of the game and 17th on the season with a single to left. The next batter Jordan Parraz grounded out to short to end the rally and the game.

"We did a great job of at least putting some pressure on them at the end of the game," Mejia said. "We showed that we are not going to give up or anything like that."

Notes: Before today's game, Freddie Freeman, rehabbing after straining his oblique earlier this month, is scheduled to take batting practice with the G-Braves before playing in three of games with the team in Charlotte and rejoining the Braves in Colorado on Monday.