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Ayala solid in inning, G-Braves lose again

LAWRENCEVILLE -- As innings go, Luis Ayala's passed stress-free.

The Atlanta Braves reliever, pitching on a rehab assignment with the Gwinnett Braves, needed just 10 pitches to retire the top of the Pawtucket order. He struck out a batter and assisted on an out on a bunt attempt by Jose Iglesias.

"It was my first time pitching in two weeks and I felt pretty good," Ayala said. "I felt normal.

"I was trying to be relaxed and I was feeling good on the pitching location. We'll see next outing."

On the disabled list since April 30 with an anxiety disorder, Ayala last pitched for the Braves at Colorado, taking his first loss on April 24. Braves' officials attributed the anxiety to high blood pressure and two trips to the emergency room. He's eligible to come off the disabled list Friday. He plans to work out today and then see what decisions the Braves' organization makes for his future.

"I will follow the trainers and (they'll make the plan)," Ayala said. "I feel OK."

As for the rest of the game, it wasn't as easy for the Gwinnett Braves, which lost their 11th straight, 4-1 to the Red Sox.

Yohan Flande started in place of opening-day starter Sean Gilmartin, who manager Randy Ready said they were skipping because he had a "hot shoulder." The plan is to have Gilmartin make his next scheduled start.

Forced into duty, the one-time reliever Flande turned in five innings for the G-Braves, allowing four runs off eight hits. He struck out seven and walked three. It took the lefty 106 pitches to battle through the five innings, but he fought through the Pawtucket lineup, stranding seven runners in the process.

Pawtucket, which led the league in runs scored entering Wednesday, jumped on Flande in the first inning when the first two batters singled. Flande allowed an RBI single, but struck out two to strand a pair on base. He allowed one more run in the fourth and then a two-run outburst in his final inning.

"He makes pitches," Ready said. "We just couldn't escape that one jam."

The Gwinnett bats continued their silence against Pawtucket started Terry Doyle. The right-hander didn't give up a hit until the third, allowing just four hits over six scoreless innings. He walked two and struck out five.

"We're lacking for that timely hit still," Ready said. "It seems like all the rallies are with two outs. No room for error."

Of the 11 to reach base for the G-Braves, 10 did so with two outs. Joe Leonard led off the fifth with a walk and was promptly erased when Paul Janish hit into a double play.

Gwinnett broke the offensive silence with a modest, two-out rally in the seventh. Janish reached on a bunt single, Matt Pagnozzi singled and Alden Carrithers doubled to score Janish. When Todd Cunningham walked, the bases were loaded for Tyler Pastornicky. But the threat of a big inning ended there when Pastornicky grounded out to short on the first pitch to end the inning.

"Guys start putting too much pressure on themselves," Ready said. "We just can't get it set up."

Carrithers, a day after hitting his first homer of the season, was 2-for-3 with the G-Braves' only RBI. Joey Terdoslavich and Pagnozzi both had two hits. It was Terdoslavich's 16th multi-hit game.

Following Flande and Ayala, the G-Braves bullpen shut down Pawtucket. Dusty Hughes struck out three in his one inning, Wirfin Obisbo struck out two more and Cory Rasmus pitched a perfect ninth. Rasmush hasn't allowed an earned run in his last 14 innings pitched. For the game, Pawtucket batters struck out 14 times.

Parkview graduate Anthony Carter pitched a perfect ninth for Pawtucket to earn his third save.

Notes: Gwinnett will start Roman Colon in this morning's 10:35 a.m. game and is expected to pitch two or three innings. Cole McCurry will replace him. ... Jason Heyward is scheduled to begin his minor league rehab today with Gwinnett. No details about his day were released to the G-Braves. ... Gwinnett starter David Hale, on the disabled list since April 18 with a shoulder strain threw off a mound Tuesday and said he's progressing slowly. There is no timetable for his return.