LAWRENCEVILLE -- Facing a former major league pitcher for the third straight night led to the third straight loss for the Gwinnett Braves.
Norfolk starter Zach Britton, who was 5-3 in 11 starts with the Orioles last season, gave the Class AAA affiliate his best start of the year to earn his first decision of the season. Britton allowed just one run over six innings, stranding five Gwinnett runners while striking out and walking two. The stymied offense left seven runners on base in a 5-1 loss to Norfolk. The Tides, who lost the first game in this series in 11 innings won the final three and the G-Braves have dropped five of their last six.
"(Britton) was a little bit more effective when we faced him last week," manager Randy Ready said. "He keeps the ball down and, for the most part, he's throwing strikes. We scatter (five) hits."
Like they've done often, Gwinnett struck first.
In his first game back since July 11, Joe Leonard made a quick impact with a sacrifice fly to score Jordan Parraz in the second inning and give the G-Braves a 1-0 lead. Parraz led off the inning with a double. The second was one of just three innings the G-Braves had more than one runner reach base.
"We never really had a lot of threats," Ready said. "We are having trouble stringing some things together now."
Gwinnett starter Tim Corcoran pitched solid through five innings. But he lost the strike zone and walked the first two batters on 10 pitches and was lifted for David Carpenter. With a tough task, Carpenter got Trayvon Robinson to line out to second and nearly into a double play. Norfolk's Travis Ishikawa loaded the bases on a dribble just past the glove of first baseman Ernesto Mejia and then Carpenter hit the same trouble as Corcoran. He walked the next two batters, giving up two runs and Norfolk took a 3-1 lead on a sacrifice fly by Luis Exposito.
"It was tough," Ready said of the walks. "Corcoran was kind of fighting it early, but he settled in."
Corcoran took the loss, pitching five-plus and allowing two runs off three hits with four walks and six strikeouts. It was his first loss of the season and he threw 92 pitches, 53 for strikes. Carpenter allowed another run in the seventh on an RBI single from Russ Canzler. Dusty Hughes pitched the eighth and gave up a run and Ryan Buchter pitched the ninth, walking the first two and striking out the last three.
"He was OK," Ready said of Buchter. "He hadn't been out there in a couple of days and that is what we have to do. We have to get those guys on the bump so they are comfortable with the command.
"He was throwing pretty hard tonight."
Gwinnett had baserunners in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, but failed to push anything across. Joe Terdoslavich had three hits, including two doubles, one hustling on a ball that skipped into shallow left. It was his third game with at least three hits and the switch hitter is hitting .290 on the season. A far cry from the .180 he hit in 53 games here a season ago.
"He's a confident young man," Ready said. "He's got a knack for driving the ball."
Tyler Pastornicky saw his nine-game hitting streak end, going 0-for-3 before leaving the game after taking a foul ball off of his shin. Ready said he was removed for "cautionary reasons" and they will "see how it is tomorrow."