Flande goes distance in 8-3 win at Charlotte

FORT MILL, S.C. — Left-hander Yohan Flande pitched the seventh complete game of his minor league career and the first nine-inning complete game of the season for the Gwinnett Braves (47-63) in an 8-3 win over the Charlotte Knights (50-60) on Monday afternoon. His brilliant effort led the G-Braves to a split of the four-game series at Knights Stadium.

Flande (6-6) threw 103 pitches, 72 of which were strikes in nailing down his team-leading sixth win of the year. He allowed three runs — two earned — on eight hits, walked none and struck out five.

It was the second overall complete game for a G-Braves pitcher this season. Right-hander Cody Martin went the entire way in a seven-inning game on June 23 at Coolray Field, a 5-1 win against Syracuse in game one of a doubleheader.

The G-Braves got on the board first with two runs in the top of the second against Charlotte starter Jason Berken. With two outs, Joe Leonard was hit by a pitch and Sean Kazmar followed with a triple to right to make it 1-0. Jose Yepez then beat out an infield single to short, scoring Kazmar from third for a 2-0 lead.

In the bottom of the third, the Knights scored their first run of the day as Tyler Greene opened the inning by reaching first on an error by the shortstop Kazmar. A double to left by Michael Earley moved Greene to third, and Steve Tolleson plated Greene with a sacrifice fly to right to cut the Gwinnett lead to 2-1.

Gwinnett extended the lead to 4-1 in the top of the fourth against Berken. Stefan Gartrell led off the inning with a single and moved to third on a double to right by Leonard. Kazmar then delivered a double to the gap in right-center scoring both Gartrell and Leonard.

The G-Braves tacked on more in the top of the eighth, this time against reliever Santos Rodriguez. Ernesto Mejia led off with a walk, Brandon Boggs followed with a single and Gartrell walked to load the bases. Leonard hit a grounder to third, forcing out Mejia at home and keeping the bases loaded. Kazmar walked to push across Boggs for a 5-1 lead and Yepez drove in Gartrell from third with a sacrifice fly to center to raise the lead to 6-1.

In the top of the ninth, facing reliever Taylor Thompson, Alden Carrithers (3) delivered a one-out solo homer to right to make it 7-1. After two outs, Boggs doubled, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a double off the wall in left by Gartrell to make it 8-1.

In the bottom of the ninth, Flande gave up three hits including a two-run single to Andy Wilkins, but stayed in the game to get the next two batters without further damage.

Berken (9-10) went seven innings with eight hits and four earned runs. He walked one and struck out five. Rodriguez worked one inning with one hit, two earned runs and three walks. Thompson went one inning with three hits, two earned runs and two strikeouts.

At the plate, Kazmar had his best game of the season, going 2-for-3 with a double, triple and four RBIs. Boggs was 3-for-5, Gartrell was 2-for-4 with an RBI and Phil Gosselin was 2-for-5.

Charlotte was led by Earley, who went 2-for-4. Wilkins went 1-for-4 with two RBIs.