Winning pitcher Daniel Rodriguez delivers a pitch Sunday against the Durham Bulls. (Photo: Dave Skillen/Gwinnett Braves)
LAWRENCEVILLE — After scoring three runs over the first three games of the series against Durham, the Gwinnett Braves came alive for an 11-3 win over the Bulls in the finale on Sunday at Coolray Field. The G-Braves racked up 19 hits, eight coming against Bulls’ ace left-hander Mike Montgomery.
Atlanta Braves’ catcher Evan Gattis, playing his fourth rehab game for Gwinnett, keyed the game’s first run in the first inning. Batting second and serving as the designated hitter, Gattis laced a one-out single, moved to third on a double by Phil Gosselin and scored on a groundout by Joey Terdoslavich, giving the G-Braves a 1-0 lead.
Gwinnett (46-56) broke the game open with eight runs in the bottom of the second inning, matching their largest scoring frame of the season. The club also scored eight runs in the fourth inning on May 22 vs. Norfolk.
In the second, Edward Salcedo and Jose Yepez reached on one-out singles. Todd Cunningham followed with a double to left scoring Salcedo to make it 2-0. Gattis singled home both Yepez and Cunningham, then scored two batters later on a fielding error by shortstop Hak-Ju Lee. Brandon Boggs singled to drive in Gosselin, increasing the lead to 6-0 and chasing Montgomery from the game.
Right-hander Doug Mathis replaced Montgomery in the second and yielded a sacrifice fly to Sean Kazmar and a two-run double to Salcedo. He finally ended the inning on a strikeout of Gattis, but the G-Braves had stormed to a 9-0 lead. Three Gwinnett batters reached twice (Salcedo, Yepez and Cunningham) in the seven-hit inning.
The G-Braves scored single runs in the third and fifth innings off Mathis, opening up an 11-0 lead. Elmer Reyes drove in both runs, singling in the third and doubling in the fifth.
Left-hander Daniel Rodriguez (W, 5-11) made the big lead stand up as he was masterful for 6.0 scoreless innings. He allowed just three hits and walked one while striking out six in a 75-pitch, 49-strike outing. The win, Rodriguez’s first since May 13 at Buffalo, snapped his team-worst eight-game losing streak.
Relievers Terry Doyle and Ryan Buchter combined on 2.0 scoreless innings in relief of Rodriguez. Right-hander James Hoyt allowed three runs in the top of the ninth before finishing the game.
Montgomery (L, 9-2) gave up eight runs, five earned over just 1.1 innings of work for Durham. The Bulls’ bullpen of Mathis, C.J. Riefenhauser, Merrill Kelly and Adam Liberatore combined for three runs over the final 7.2 innings.
Gattis finished 2-for-6 with a pair of singles, two runs scored and two RBIs for Gwinnett. Cunningham and Gosselin each added three hits, while Terdoslavich, Reyes and Salcedo all drove in two runs apiece.
Mikie Mahtook and Ali Solis each finished 2-for-4 with a double for the Bulls (55-46).
The Gwinnett Braves continue the homestand with the opener of a four-game series against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on Monday night, first pitch scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Right-hander Cody Martin (6-6, 3.52) starts for the G-Braves while the RailRiders counter with right-hander Bruce Billings (4-5, 5.34).