Staff Photo: John Bohn Gwinnett Braves short stop Sean Kazmar (4) takes a throw in an attempt to catch Columbus Clipper's base runner Ezequiel Carrera (10) off of second base during the second inning of Monday's game played at Coolray Field.
LAWRENCEVILLE -- The Gwinnett bullpen was nearly flawless, allowing just two base runners over the final 5 innings.
Unfortunately for the G-Braves, the damage had already been done.
Columbus scored an unearned run in the first inning, tallied three times on five hits in the second and added a run in the fourth en route to a 5-2 victory Monday night at Coolray Field.
G-Braves starter David Hale, who missed more than a month with shoulder soreness, was making his fourth appearance since his return and struggled against the Clippers.
The right-hander gave up eight hits, including a home run to Chun Chen leading off the second, and three doubles.
Meanwhile, the G-Braves did little against Columbus starter Joe Martinez (2-5). He worked 6 innings and the only earned run against him came on Joey Terdoslavich's homer in the sixth.
Gwinnett was down 5-1 when Hale (1-3) was pulled after 59 pitches and the bullpen's fine work later went for naught.
Four G-Braves relievers allowed just a hit and a walk the rest of the way, recording nine strikeouts.
Ryan Buchter retired six straight batters, striking out five, and Joe Biemel fanned two while recording five straight outs.
Chun's homer was his third of the series and gave him six RBIs and five runs scored. Tim Fedroff had three hits, while Matt Carson and Matt Lawson added two each.
Tyler Pastornicky and Brandon Boggs each had a single and a double for the G-Braves. But Pastornicky let one ball fall in front of him and another go over his head as he made his first start in center field.
The G-Braves will likely face a familiar name as they try to salvage a series split Tuesday.
Daisuke Matsuzaka is expected to come off the disabled list and start for Columbus in 12:05 p.m. game, which will be televised by CSS and the MLB Network.
Matsuzaka has been on the Clippers' disabled list since late April because of an oblique strain. In five starts, he is 0-2 with a 3.92 ERA.
The 32-year-old former Japanese star signed with Cleveland in the offseason after six seasons with Boston. He was 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA during his best season with the Red Sox in 2008.
Omar Poveda, who is 4-3 with a 3.24 ERA, will start for Gwinnett.
Notes: Brandon Beachy will make his final rehab start for the G-Braves at Rochester on Thursday rather than pitch for Class AA Mississippi at Tennessee. Coming back from Tommy John elbow surgery, Beachy is scheduled to start for Atlanta in a split-doubleheader next Tuesday against the New York Mets at Turner Field. The right-hander has made four minor league starts, two with Gwinnett, and is 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA. ... The G-Braves are off on Wednesday before starting the eight-game road trip to Rochester and Buffalo.