Staff Photo: John Bohn Gwinnett Braves short stop Sean Kazmar fields a ball hit by Louisville Bats Chad Reineke, in time to throw Reineke out at first base during the fourth inning of Tuesday's game played at Cool Ray Field.
LAWRENCEVILLE -- For seven innings, Gwinnett's Tuesday night game with Louisville was a pitcher's duel. But once the starters were gone, the offense for Louisville did what the G-Braves couldn't.
Louisville touched up Gwinnett relievers for three runs in the final two innings, washing out a quality start from Omar Poveda, and pulling away for a 6-2 win in front of 2,669 at Coolray Field.
Poveda (3-3) was nearly flawless, setting down 14 in a row at one point.
He hit a bump in the road in the third inning when the Bats (23-23) struck for three runs.
Two of those came on a two-run triple from Felix Perez, while Josh Fellhauer drove in the third on a sacrifice fly to right.
That put Louisville up 3-1, but Poveda found his groove after that.
"He kept us in the ballgame," Gwinnett manager Randy Ready said. "We were down one run with nine outs to go, but we couldn't get anything going on offense. He was mixing in his fastball and keeping guys off balance. He gave up those three runs in the one inning, but was good the rest of the night."
Poveda's night ended with three runs in seven innings on four hits and three walks with two strikeouts. Tuesday marked his seventh consecutive quality start.
Lousville countered with righty Chad Reineke, who matched Poveda in innings with seven, surrendering two runs on six hits and one walk with three strikeouts. The win bumped Reineke's record to 4-3.
Gwinnett (17-30) gave Poveda an early lead by pushing across a run in the bottom of the first. Todd Cunningham (2-for-3, double, triple, walk) tripled in the right field corner with one out.
Tyler Pastornicky followed and quickly found himself in a hole when he swung and missed the first two pitches he saw. But he battled back when he poked an RBI single to right on a 0-2 pitch.
Poveda cruised in the second inning but the third ultimately proved to be his undoing. Billy Hamilton led off the inning with a walk, followed by a bunt single from Henry Rodriguez.
After striking out Neftali Soto, Poveda's attempt to coax Perez into an inning-ending double play failed when his sharp grounder stayed inside the bag at first, ultimately winding up in the right field corner for a two-run triple.
"That's three-bag territory down there," Ready said. "The ball can really get hung up in the corners here."
Fellhauer's sacrifice fly to right for the second out of the inning put the Bats up 3-1, leaving Reineke with a two-run cushion. Fellhauer's fly out to right was the first of 14 straight set down by Poveda.
Gwinnett had a chance at a run in the fourth inning when Joe Terdoslavich led off the inning with a double to left center, his league-leading 19th two-bagger of the season.
But he would be left standing at third, one of five men left on base for Gwinnett on the night.
The Braves would strike back in the fifth. Jose Constanza singled to center with two outs, extending his league leading hitting streak to 18 games, and came around to score on Cunningham's double to right.
Poveda would be lifted after the seventh, and the Louisville hitters took full advantage, getting two runs in the eighth off a long homer to left from Hessman, who finished the night 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run.
The Bats added another run in the top of the ninth off Corky Miller's solo shot to left off of Pat Egan.
"You talk about the right combination of solid pitching, a good start, the bullpen doing it's job, timely hitting and the defense coming through, we haven't been able to consistently put it all together," Ready said. "That's been our nemesis all year."