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Late rally lifts G-Braves past Columbus 4-3 in Beachy rehab start

LAWRENCEVILLE -- While most eyes among the 7,784 fans at the Gwinnett Braves game with the Columbus Clippers were on Brandon Beachy, the home team gave those fans plenty to see with some late heroics.

A two-out, two-run rally in the bottom of the ninth forced extra innings, where Matt Pagnozzi's sacrifice fly in the 10th lifted the G-Braves to a 4-3 win Saturday night at Coolray Field.

From a statistical standpoint, Beachy's outing was one of the best of his rehab assignment, as he gave up just one earned run over a five-inning start that lasted 94 pitches.

There was some elements he was less than pleased with -- mainly some early control problems by walking a pair of batters in the first inning, as well as Chun Chen's towering solo home run in the top of the second.

"I was pitching behind a lot, and it ended up hurting me that one at bat (against Chen)," Beachy said. "I threw way too many pitches, and that goes back to my fastball command, especially early on -- walking guys and being behind in about every count. It was really not conducive to success."

But there was also plenty for him to feel good about for the 25-year-old right-hander.

He allowed just three other hits -- two of which of the pop-fly variety -- and one more walk over the rest of his outing, while striking out eight total batters on the evening.

"I threw some pretty quality breaking balls, so I guess I can hang my hat on that for now," Beachy said. "I felt better (Saturday) physically than I have the past few days. So, (the ball) was coming out easier. When that happens, it usually takes me a little bit to control myself and get myself down in the zone. It took a little longer than I would've liked to."

Beachy is scheduled have one more rehab start for Double-A Mississippi at Tennessee on Thursday.

If all goes as planned, he will rejoin the big league club June 18, and is tentatively scheduled to start one game of a doubleheader with the New York Mets at Turner Field in Atlanta.

His goals for that last rehab start are simple.

"I want to command my fastball a little bit better," Beachy said. "Then, I'd like to be a little more efficient, and I think No. 1 will take care of No. 2. Coming back through this process, I'm fighting through a lot of ... mechanical things it took me years to overcome. ... That's something I dealt with a lot in 2011. My stuff is good, but I've got to be a little more efficient with it. ... I was able to make those adjustments a couple of years ago, and I'll be able to do it again."

Despite an overall solid outing, Beachy left the game trailing 1-0 because Trevor Bauer also had a strong start.

The Columbus right-hander wound up going seven shutout innings, giving up just five hits and striking out six.

But with Columbus leading 3-1 in the bottom of the ninth, a two-out error by Clippers second baseman Nate Spears brought home one run and extended the inning for Todd Cunningham, whose single to left plated Jose Constanza to tie the game at 3-all and send it into extra innings.

And in the 10th, one pitch after barely missing an extra-base hit foul down the right-field line, Brandon Boggs sent a blooper to left that Cord Phelps dove for, but missed, resulting in a triple.

After intentional walks to Joe Leonard and Alden Carrithers, Pagnozzi sent a fly ball to right that didn't look like it would be deep enough to score Boggs.

But the Marietta native tagged up and sped home anyway, and Ezequiel Carrera's throw was up the third-base line, allowing Boggs to slide in safely and give the G-Braves the win.

Leonard finished the game with three hits -- tying his career high -- including a pair of doubles.