Rain shortens G-Braves loss

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Finally, the water won.

With the tying run at the plate, the steady rain that fell much of the game Friday night picked up just enough and home plate umpire Jeff Gosney cleared the field.

Heavier rans and lightning followed and 44 minutes later the Gwinnett Braves' 2-0 loss to the Charlotte Knights was official with one out in the bottom of the eighth.

The timing didn't work out well for the G-Braves who had Todd Cunningham on first and their No. 3 batter Brandon Boggs coming to the plate against Charlotte reliever Jeff Gray. But it wasn't the first chance for Gwinnett, which left six runners on base and went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.

And the missed opportunities started early.

Gwinnett put the first two batters of the game on base with singles by Jose Constanza and Cunningham. Neither scored after a strikeout and a double play.

With runners on the corners and two outs in the third, Joe Leonard grounded out to the pitcher and in the sixth Luis Nunez popped out to second with runners on first and second.

All the chances came against Charlotte starter Jason Berken who threw his second shutout in his last three starts. The 29-year-old allowed just four hits over seven innings, walking four and striking out three. The seven innings of scoreless baseball are the most pitched by Berken this season. The win was the first series sweep of the season for the Knights.

And with Berken peaking, Gwinnett starter Cody Martin turned in his shortest performance since June 7 with Class AA Mississippi, lasting just five innings. But the 23-year-old right hander kept the game close, allowing just one earned run despite dangling chance after chance in front of the Knights. Martin allowed five hits and walked four in his outing but he stranded seven runners with the help of eight strikeouts and a double play.

The double play came with the bases loaded and allowed Jim Gallagher to score the only run allowed by Martin.

Yohan Flande, the G-Braves' do-it-all lefty, entered in relief and pitched two scoreless innings before an error by Luis Nunez on a two-out routine ground ball to short allowed Cody Puckett to reach. Gallagher followed with an RBI single to left.

Gwinnett ended the game with four hits, all singles. Nunez's single in the fourth extended his hitting streak to nine games.