Gwinnett Braves manager Randy Ready celebrates his team's comeback win Tuesday against Durham. (Gwinnett Braves/Chris Roughgarden)
LAWRENCEVILLE — For eight innings, Gwinnett couldn’t break through against the International League’s top-ranked pitching staff.
But the Braves saved their best for last with a come-from-behind 3-2 win over Durham Tuesday night in front of 2,263 fans at Coolray Field.
Trailing 2-0 heading to the bottom of the ninth, Gwinnett (53-72) rallied for two runs to tie the game at 2-2 and then won it with a run in the 10th.
Brandon Boggs, who had singled with one out, appeared to be the third out at second base on a grounder to short by Phil Gosselin.
But Tim Beckham’s throw sailed wide of second and rolled down the right field line.
Boggs scrambled to his feet and raced around third with manager and third base coach Randy Ready waving him home.
Boggs slid in safely as Jesus Flores couldn’t come up with Vince Belnome’s throw to send Gwinnett home a winner for the second straight game against the top team in the International League.
“We didn’t come through there early in the game, but we hung around and got it done late,” said Gwinnett manager Randy Ready. “We got the table set and we ended up tying it. We strung together some hits in the ninth and then we put some pressure on their defense in the 10th.
“I saw Vince (Belnome) get to the ball over there and knew it was going to be a close play. But I thought it was take a perfect throw to get (Boggs) and they couldn’t come up with it. It’s a good game for us to come out on top.”
Wirfin Obispo (2-3) got the win for Gwinnett with one inning of work in the 10th.
Adam Liberatore (4-3) took the loss for Durham.
Gwinnett’s rally in the ninth started with Gosselin’s double with one out and he scored on Stefan Gartrell’s RBI single to make it 2-1.
After Joe Leonard lined out to short, Matt Pagnozzi (3-for-3) singled to move Gartrell to third.
Pinch-hitter Alden Carrithers walked to load the bases and Gartrell scored on a wild pitch to tie it at 2-2.
But Jose Constanza struck out to send the game to extra innings.
Right-hander Jake Odorizzi was on track to pick up his ninth win for Durham (76-48) as the Bulls used three pitchers to shut down the Gwinnett offense through eight innings.
Odorizzi went five innings and allowed just two hits while striking out four and walking three.
Durham finally broke through in the fifth off Gwinnett starting pitcher Kameron Loe when Kevin Kiermaier ripped a two-out triple into the right-field corner to score Evan Frey, who had reached on a one-out walk.
It appeared that Loe would get out of the inning with no damage after Leonard made a great play on a grounder down the line at third to get Jesus Flores for the second out.
But Kiermaier battled back from a 0-2 count and delivered on a 2-2 pitch to give Durham the 1-0 lead.
Durham put two more base runners on with no outs in the seventh, but Loe recorded two strikeouts and reliever Juan Cedeno got a groundout to short to keep it a one-run game.
Loe, who didn’t figure in the decision, pitched well for Gwinnett.
The big right-hander went 6 2/3 innings and allowed just one earned run on four hits while striking out three and walking three.
“Kam Loe pitched well all night and our pitching did a great job,” said Ready. “He really didn’t make bad pitches when (Durham) got their two runs. You have to give their guys credit for hitting good pitches.”
Durham put an insurance run on the board in the top of the ninth when Chris Gimenez hit a solo homer to left-center off Gwinnett reliever Joe Beimel to make it 2-0.