SYRACUSE, N.Y.--The Gwinnett Bravesscored four runs in the first three innings and held off a furious comeback by the Syracuse Chiefsfor a 5-4 win Tuesday night at NBT Bank Stadium.
With the win, the G-Braves have now won six games in a row for the first time this season.
Gwinnett never trailed in the game and got two on the board in the top of the first inning off of Syracuse starting pitcher Matt Torra.
In that half inning, Todd Cunningham lined a one-out single to left and scored the first run of the game on a double to right by Tyler Pastornicky. Ernesto Mejia then plated Pastornicky with a double off the wall in center, giving the Braves a 2-0 lead.
Gwinnett added two more in the top of the third. Cunningham reached first on a bunt single and moved to second on a throwing error by Chiefs third baseman Carlos Rivero. Pastornicky followed with a two-run blast to straight away center, increasing the lead to 4-0.
After pitching five scoreless innings, Gwinnett starter Daniel Rodriguez (W, 3-3) was touched up in the bottom of the sixth. Chris Rahl doubled to left and Will Rhymes walked to put two on with only one out. Chris Marrero then doubled to score both runners, cutting the Gwinnett lead to 4-2.
The lead narrowed to 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth as former Gainesville and Georgia Tech start Micah Owings lined a pinch-hit RBI single to right off Kameron Loe, scoring Zach Walters from second, who had walked earlier in the inning.
The G-Braves grabbed that run right back in the eighth inning. Pastornicky led off with a single to left field. Then he stole second and moved to third on a fly ball to right by Mejia. Joey Terdoslavich scored Pastornicky from third with a sac fly to center, making it 5-3.
The insurance run was crucial, as the Chiefs threatened to take the lead in the bottom half of the frame. With Loe pitching, the Chiefs loaded the bases with no one out. Ryan Buchter was called in from the bullpen, and after allowing a run to score on a wild pitch, he struck out the next three batters, retiring the side with the tying run at third and the potential go ahead run at second.
Rodriguez was the victor, tossing six innings, scattering three hits, allowing two earned runs, while walking four and striking out seven. The bullpen was shaky, allowing two runs in 3.0 innings, but came up big in key spots. Buchter tossed one inning and struck out three, while Pat Egan (S, 3) pitched a scoreless ninth for his third save of the season.
Torra, in his second start of the season, picked up the loss. He tossed 7.0 innings, yielding 10 hits, while giving up four earned runs and striking out two.
Offensively, Pastornicky paced the G-Braves with a 3-for-4 night. He scored three runs and drove in three. Cunningham and Paul Janish added two hits each.