NORFOLK, Va. — The Gwinnett Braves, behind the stellar pitching of starter David Hale, held off the Norfolk Tides for a 2-1 win in Game 3 of the five-game series Monday night at Harbor Park in Norfolk.
The win marked the seventh one-run game in the nine played between the two teams this season, and the first win for the G-Braves at Harbor Park in 2013.
Hale (3-3) and Norfolk starter Freddie Garcia (4-1) were in command of the game through the first three innings, but in the top of the fourth, Gwinnett ended the scoreless tie as Ernesto Mejia pounded a solo home run that hit the foul pole in left. His 21st dinger of the season gave the Braves a 1-0 lead.
The Gwinnett lead went to 2-0 in the top of the fifth, as Matt Pagnozzi led off with a solo homer to left off of Garcia, who has pitched 13 seasons in the major leagues.
The G-Braves (37-49) took a lead to the eighth inning for a third straight night, but this time did not surrender it. The Tides put two on in the eighth on walks by reliever Ryan Buchter, but Wirfin Obispo replaced Buchter with one out and would not allow a run to score.
However, Norfolk (45-40) did make a final run in the bottom of the ninth off of Obispo. L.J. Hoes led off with a single to right, and Yamaico Navarro dropped a single to left in front of Gwinnett left fielder Stefan Gartrell. However, Obispo got Brandon Wood to strikeout for the first out and Chris Snyder to fly out to center for the second. Xavier Avery followed with a single to right, scoring Hoes from third to cut the lead to 2-1, but Obispo then struck out Jason Pridie to end the game.
Hale delivered his third straight quality start for the G-Braves and fourth overall, working 7.0 innings with five hits, no runs, one walk and four strikeouts. Obispo went 1.2 innings for his third save, scattering three hits, allowing one earned run and picking up two strikeouts.
Garcia picked up his first AAA loss of the season by going 5.0 innings. He gave up four hits, allowing two earned runs, and striking out three.
At the plate, Mejia was 2-for-4 with his 21st homer and 62nd RBI, both leading the team.
Hoes and Navarro both went 2-for-4 for Norfolk.
The Braves and Tides meet in Game 4 of the five-game series Tuesday night at Harbor Park. Joe Bisenius (2-0, 3.09) will start for Gwinnett. Norfolk will start right-hander Jake Arrieta (5-3, 4.41).