Gwinnett Braves Brandon Boggs bats against Norfolk during Thursday’s game at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville. Boggs was a home run short of hitting for the cycle as the G-Braves stormed back to beat the Tides. (Photo: Dave Skillen)
LAWRENCEVILLE — Gus Schlosser and the Gwinnett Braves spotted the Norfolk Tides a six-run lead early in the opener of their four-game, weekend series.
But both showed plenty of bounce back, with the right-hander rebounding to hold the visitors scoreless the rest of his outing, and the G-Braves bats answered with an eight-run fourth inning en route to a 10-7 victory before 3,209 fans Thursday night at Coolray Field.
The comeback represented the largest comeback since Sept. 1 of last season.
It also ended a modest two-game losing streak and gave the first-place G-Braves (26-19) their 11th win in the last 15 games.
“We’ve been playing pretty good baseball,” said G-Braves manager Brian Snitker, whose team pounded out 15 hits on the night. “That inning was probably as bad a baseball as we’ve played in three weeks. … It just was an ugly inning in the second. We couldn’t do anything right. There was nothing going our way. But we knew we had eight (more) cracks at them. We hung in there and didn’t panic and came back with eight of our own.
“It’s been like that pretty much all year. We’ve come back in a lot of games. It’s a pretty good trait to have — that you don’t panic. … It’s kind of like a bad game. You put it behind you and start over and see what happens.”
Not even Schlosser (2-1) panicked after he followed up a strong first inning in which he retired Norfolk in order on three groundball outs with a rough top of the second.
Brett Wallace led off with a double into the left-field corner to lead a string of six hits in the innings — including a second one by the Tides’ first baseman later in the inning that drove in two runs — plus a hit batsman and a walk.
By the time Derrick Mitchell ran down Francisco Peguero’s deep liner to right to finally record the final out of the inning, 11 Norfolk hitters had come to the plate, with six touching home and Brian Ward, Julio Borbon, Quintin Berry and Cord Phelps each driving in a run to leave the Tides leading 6-0.
However, Schlosser settled down somewhat after the disastrous inning, allowing just one more hit and no runs in four more innings before giving way to the bullpen.
In all, the right-hander battled through six innings, giving up seven hits and six runs with one strikeout.
“I just tried to make better pitches,” Schlosser said. “I just tried to relax and didn’t really think about (the inning), just focus on (the rest of the game).”
And the G-Braves rewarded that work with a big inning of their own in the bottom of the fourth.
A lead-off double by Joey Terdoslavich and walks drawn by Todd Hamilton and Edward Salcedo sandwiched around Mitchell’s foul out to first to load the bases with just the one out.
A visit to the mound by Norfolk pitching coach Mike Griffin didn’t help Tides starter Mike Wright (1-3), who had his next pitch ripped up the middle by Brandon Boggs to plate a pair of runs and bring the G-Braves to within 6-2.
Steve Lerud then stepped to the plate and deposited a 3-1 offering over the wall in right-center for a three-run homer to make the score 6-5 and end the night for Wright.
But even after new pitchers Brock Huntzinger came on and struck out Todd Cunningham for the second out of the inning, the G-Braves weren’t done.
Tommy La Stella singled off Huntzinger’s leg and went to second when Phil Gosselin singled to bring the Gwinnett order back around to Terdoslavich, who delivered his second double of the inning to bring home La Stella and tie the game a 6 apiece.
And when a Huntzinger offering got through Norfolk catcher Ward for a passed ball to bring home Gosselin, the G-Braves had their biggest single-inning outburst so far this season, as well as their first lead of the game at 7-6.
Hamilton added an RBI single, and by the time Huntzinger finally got Mitchell on a fielder’s choice grounder to retire the side, 12 hitters had batted, with eight coming plateward to vault the G-Braves into an 8-6 lead.
“All these guys here have that never give up attitude,” said Boggs, who finished just a home run short of the cycle in a 3-for-4 night with two RBIs. “We had a lot of time to come back. We had some great at bats. That’s what you have to do as a good team — you’ve got to come back in any situation.”
And the G-Braves made sure they wouldn’t give Norfolk the chance to mount its own comeback, with Todd Cunningham’s safety squeeze bunt driving in an insurance run in the fifth and La Stella driving in another with this third hit of the night in the eighth to push the lead to 10-6.
Gwinnett relievers Atahualpa Severino, Pedro Beato and Juan Jaime did their part, limiting the Tide to just two hits and one run over the final three innings to put the game away.
In addition to the big night from Boggs and La Stella, Terdoslavich went 2-for-5 with the two doubles and an RBI, and Gosselin was also 2-for-5.