Gwinnett Braves starter Daniel Rodriguez struck out a career-high 11 over seven innings, but still suffered the loss against Indianapolis on Tuesday at Coolray Field. (Photo: Taylor Botta)
LAWRENCEVILLE — Gwinnett left-hander Daniel Rodriguez is having a bounce-back season, but is still winless at Coolray Field.
The native of Mexico fell to 0-3 at home compared to 4-1 on the road as Indianapolis salvaged a split of the four-game series against the G-Braves with a 4-2 victory Tuesday night.
Rodriguez deserved a better fate.
The 29-year-old struck out a career-high 11 over seven innings and one of the runs against him was unearned.
Indianapolis right-hander Brandon Cumpton was just a little better. The former Georgia Tech standout from Augusta allowed five hits and a run over a season-best eight innings while improving to 4-1 and lowering his ERA to 1.35. He struck out six and walked two.
Rodriguez, who has a 3.12 ERA, retired the last eight batters he faced. He gave up five hits — one a homer to the second batter of the game — and walked one.
In most ways, his outing was as good as his previous start in Buffalo on May 13, but he got a loss instead of a win.
At least the loss didn’t knock the G-Braves (25-19) out of first place in the International League South. Durham (26-21) dropped a home game earlier in the day and remains a half-game behind.
Gwinnett manager Brian Snitker wasn’t around for the end of the game. He was ejected for the first time this season after questioning an out call on an attempted stolen base in the fourth innings. Derrick Mitchell appeared to easily beat the throw.
Snitker has been impressed with Rodriguez this season.
“He’s pitched very well,” the manager said. “Everything revolves around his curveball. If he has it working, he can change up on his other pitches.”
Rodriguez rarely reaches 90 mph and Indianapolis shortstop Robert Andino lined a 1-0 fastball over the left-field fence for a first-inning lead.
The G-Braves tied it on an RBI single by Christian Bethancourt in the second inning, but the Indians scored twice in the fourth and added an unearned run courtesy of two Gwinnett errors in the fifth.
Bethancourt got the G-Braves within one run with a two-out double in the ninth inning, but Edward Salcedo lined out to Andino with two on to end the game. Josh Kinney got his third save.
Tommy LaStella joined Bethancourt with two hits for the G-Braves. Andino and Chris Dickerson each had two hits for Indianapolis, which leads the IL West with a 26-19 record.
Rodriguez spent seven seasons in the Mexican League, going 11-5 with a 2.54 ERA in 2012. That was enough for Atlanta to sign him and he made two starts for Gwinnett at the end of that season.
Rodriguez, especially tough on left-handed hitters, had a good spring training with the Braves last year and was an outside candidate for a spot in the bullpen. But he struggled after a solid April with Gwinnett and his season ended in early June because of a strained elbow.
After a frustrating summer, Rodriguez made it back to pitch in the Mexican Pacific League over the winter and set out to make up for lost time, starting with another solid spring with Atlanta.
So far so good, especially on the road.
Notes: Sean Kazmar was placed on the disabled list with a bruised left hand suffered on a slide at the plate in Buffalo on Friday. The shortstop has a .324 average in 24 games. … Jose Constanza remains on the disabled list with a groin strain suffered May 9 at Lehigh Valley. … Todd Cunningham had his streak of games with an RBI end at five. … Today’s scheduled day off is just the G-Braves’ second of the season. The other was April 30. … Norfolk comes in Thursday for a four-game series to conclude the homestand.