An aggressive showing from the top half of the Gwinnett Braves’ order was enough to survive an offensive showcase by both teams Tuesday night.
Led by Phil Gosselin’s 3-for-4 performance that ended up a home run short of the cycle, Gwinnett’s top four hitters combined for nine of the team’s 12 hits to overoame an early deficit for a 6-3 win over the Syracuse Chiefs.
Tyler Pastornicky connected for his first home run of the season in a 2-for-4 night, and Jose Constanza and Joey Terdoslavich each added a pair of hits.
The victory puts the G-Braves (43-49) in the win column against Syracuse (54-37), which owns the International League’s best record, for the first time this season after a pair of losses to open the series.
“It’s a really big win – they’re the best team in the league,” Gosselin said. “If we can win the last two and end up getting a split, that would be big.”
Gosselin broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth inning, doubling to score Constanza for Gwinnett’s first lead of the night. He ripped an RBI triple to highlight a three-run seventh, which also featured RBI singles from Pastornicky and Terdoslavich.
Gosselin got one more chance to homer and secure the cycle, but grounded out to third.
“I was just trying to have a good at-bat,” Gosselin said. “Unfortunately he got me out, but I wasn’t thinking about the home run at all.
“I can’t remember coming that close in professional baseball or anything … I think I hit for the cycle when I was like 12, maybe.”
When all the damage was done, the two teams combined for 25 hits.
“It was nice to get the line moving and put together at-bats,” Pastronicky said. “We came close to batting around. It was good to see bats come alive, and hopefully we can keep it rolling.”
Gus Schlosser (5-4, 4.08 ERA) pitched six innings for the win, giving up one earned run on eight hits with a pair of strikeouts.
Technically serving as Gwinnett’s starter, Schlosser didn’t enter the game until the second inning to allow for a rehab start by Pedro Beato.
It was Beato’s first appearance since going on the disabled list on June 19 following a short stint in Atlanta.
Beato opened the game on a sour note, giving up a leadoff home run to Jeff Kobernus (3-for-5), but managed to strike out International League batting leader Steven Souza Jr. before retiring for the evening.
Schlosser briefly pitched with a 2-0 deficit in the third inning after Syracuse’s Josh Johnson (3-for-4) scored on Kobernus’ sacrifice play, made possible by a pair of steals from the speedy shortstop.
Pastronicky’s first home run of the season, a two-run blast, served as the response, tying the game at two apiece.
“It felt good,” Pastornicky said. “I got a good pitch to hit and I put a pretty good swing on it.”
The Chiefs continued to battle, opening the fourth with a pair of singles by Tyler Moore and Brandon Laird, but an ensuing double play kept the game knotted.
It proved to be costly for Syrcause, who gave up Gosselin’s RBI double the following with no outs in the fifth to lose its lead.
The G-Braves beat up lefty reliever Zach Jackson in the seventh with Gosselin’s triple to score Phil Kazmar, followed by Pastornicky’s single that brought home Gosselin.
Pastornicky stole twice, then scored from third on a single by Terdoslavich for Gwinnett’s final run.
Terry Doyle relieved Schlosser in the eighth, but ended up with a bases-loaded jam in the ninth and was relieved by Atahualpa Severino, who earned the save. Syracuse tacked on more run before the G-Braves notched the final out.
Chiefs starter Taylor Hill took the loss, giving up three earned runs on seven hits in six innings.