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Pie powers G-Braves past Norfolk, 6-4

POSTED: August 7, 2012 11:32 p.m.

LAWRENCEVILLE – Felix Pie went 2 for 3 with three RBIs, leading the Gwinnett Braves to a 6-4 win over the Norfolk Tides on Tuesday night at Coolray Field. The G-Braves scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to take a 5-2 lead and never trailed the rest of the way, moving to within six games of the Tides for second place in the International League South Division with the victory.

Norfolk jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the second against Gwinnett starter Yohan Flande. The left-hander allowed Luis Exposito to reach on a fielder’s choice, and Brandon Waring doubled to put two runners in scoring position. Jamie Hoffmann’s sacrifice fly scored Exposito, and Blake Davis followed with a single scoring Waring for a 2-0 Tides lead.

Gwinnett cut the deficit to 2-1 in the third inning against Tides’ starter Jake Arrieta, as Jose Constanza reached on his second walk of the game and scored on Pie’s double down the left-field line.

The G-Braves got to Arrieta again in the fourth, putting together the game-deciding four-run frame. Stefan Gartrell led off the inning with a double and advanced to third base on a passed ball. He scored to tie the game as the very next batter, Terry Tiffee, singled to left-center. Josh Kroeger reached on a fielder’s choice and took third on a single by Rusty Ryal, then scored on J.C. Boscan’s sharp single to left field to give Gwinnett a 3-2 lead. Following a Constanza single, Pie came through in the clutch once again with a two-run single to left-center scoring Ryal and Boscan for a 5-2 advantage.

Norfolk responded with a run in the fifth off Flande, but Gwinnett recovered that run in their half of the fifth as Gartrell reached on an error, took third on a double by Tiffee and scored on a groundout by Kroeger.

The Tides threatened to come back from the 6-3 deficit, scoring a run against Dusty Hughes in the seventh on a single by Joe Mahoney. However, Hughes (H, 6), Andy Russell (H, 2) and Anthony Varvaro (S, 4) would combine to allow just one run over the final four innings in relief of Flande.

Flande (W, 6-8) was solid yet again for the G-Braves, allowing three runs on seven hits over five innings. He walked two and struck out three, throwing 91 pitches, 55 for strikes.

Arrieta (L, 3-2), a Baltimore Oriole for a large stretch of 2012, took the loss for the Tides with five runs on eight hits over 3 2/3 innings. The right-hander walked three and struck out none. Greg Burke yielded an unearned run over 3 1/3 innings in relief of Arrieta, and Zach Phillips added a scoreless inning for the Tides.

Constanza walked twice and went 1 for 2 in the leadoff spot for Gwinnett, extending his team-best on-base streak to 30 games. That streak is tied for the third longest in the IL this season, trailing only 31-game streaks accomplished by Syracuse’s Corey Brown and Toledo’s Eric Patterson earlier this season. In addition to Pie’s two-hit night, Gartrell and Tiffee each added 2 for 4 performances.

Four Norfolk hitters finished with multi-hit games, including Mahoney (2 for 4, double, RBI) and Davis (2 for 3, RBI).

The Gwinnett Braves (53-65) play game three of the four-game series against the Norfolk Tides (59-59) at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday evening at Coolray Field. Right-hander Miguel Batista (1-0, 1.80) is slated to start for the G-Braves, while the Tides counter with right-hander Steve Johnson (4-8, 2.86).



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