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G-Braves finally trump Yankees, 10-6

POSTED: July 23, 2012 11:55 p.m.

LAWRENCEVILLE — After dropping the first seven meetings this season, the Gwinnett Braves finally defeated the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees with a 10-6 win on Monday night at Coolray Field. The Gwinnett offense collected 14 total hits including two from Felix Pie, who went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs.

For the fourth time in four games on the series, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre scored first against Gwinnett. Brandon Laird crushed a solo home run off starter Eric Junge with one out in the second, giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead.

Gwinnett took little time to respond, as Stefan Gartrell singled with one out the very next frame. Following the first out of the inning, Jose Yepez continued his hot hitting with a single to right-center. That hit set up Lance Zawadzki’s RBI groundout, tying the game at 1-1.

The G-Braves took their first lead of the entire season series (a 61 2/3-inning span) in the third inning. Ernesto Mejia reached base on a single and following a walk to Gartrell, Yepez smashed his second single of the game to score Mejia. Ruben Gotay immediately followed with a run-scoring single of his own. A throwing error charged to Yankees third baseman Kevin Russo following a two-out single by Zawadzki allowed Yepez to race home for a 4-1 advantage.

The G-Braves extended the lead to 6-1 in the fourth inning. Jack Wilson, currently on a Major League rehab assignment for Atlanta, singled to lead off the frame, stole second and came around to score on Mejia’s RBI single.

Gartrell then doubled down the left-field line to score Mejia, raising the lead to five runs.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre starter Mike O’Connor (L, 2-4) lasted just 3 1/3 innings, yielding six runs (five earned) on 10 hits. The left-hander struck out three and walked two.

Junge (W, 6-8) gave up a pair of runs in the fifth as he served up a two-run homer to Chris Dickerson, cutting the lead to 6-3. The veteran right-hander and former Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankee worked five innings of three-run baseball, walking one and striking out one. He threw 79 pitches, 51 strikes on the night.

Gwinnett added some much-needed insurance in the fifth inning. Following a leadoff double by Luis Durango and a walk to Wilson, Pie came through with a three-run homer to right field off Yankees right-hander Preston Claiborne. Pie’s third home run of the season and first at Coolray Field extended the lead to 9-3.

The G-Braves added a final run to establish a 10-3 lead in the seventh, but Scranton made the game interesting with three runs in the eighth. Corban Joseph drilled an RBI double scoring Dickerson, and a wild pitch by Cory Gearrin and RBI groundout by Laird added two more runs. All three runs were charged to left-hander Cole McCurry, who worked two innings. Gearrin did not allow a run to his own line over two innings.

Six-different Gwinnett hitters notched multi-hit nights, including Mejia, who finished 2-for-5 with two runs scored, his team-leading 26th double and league-leading 68th RBI. Gotay added two RBIs on 1-for-4 hitting.

Dickerson went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs, while Laird finished 1-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs for the Yankees.

The Gwinnett Braves (47-57) welcome the Durham Bulls (48-56) to Coolray Field on Tuesday night for the opener of a four-game series. The G-Braves will have right-hander Julio Teheran (6-5, 4.93) on the mound, while the Bulls counter with right-hander Alex Torres (3-5, 6.79) for a 7:05 p.m. scheduled first pitch.


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