By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
G-Braves keep winning streak alive against Norfolk
Placeholder Image
LAWRENCEVILLE – The Gwinnett Braves have picked a perfect time to get on a roll.

After starting the second half of the season with three straight losses, Gwinnett completed a sweep of Norfolk with a 5-1 win Thursday, have won six straight games — the longest win streak of the year — and have moved one game closer to first place in the South Division.

“(The sweep) means a lot,” Gwinnett manager Dave Brundage said. “We played good baseball throughout the series.”

Especially on offense, as Gwinnett outscored Norfolk 24-10 in the series, which upped the run differential during the streak to 40-15.

The offense was on display Thursday, with Gwinnett mustering eight hits, including two home runs, against three Norfolk (54-43) pitchers.

Brandon Jones started things off for Gwinnett (54-45) in the bottom of the second with a slap double down the left field line that scored Reid Gorecki. Jones was back at it again in the fourth, this time smashing a solo home run to right field to give Gwinnett a 2-0 lead.

“Hopefully I’m back on track now,” Jones said. “It felt good to hit the ball that hard. I haven’t felt that way in a long time.”

Jones’ night was not a surprise to Brundage, who said, “that’s the way Brandon Jones is capable of hitting on a regular basis.
Jones wasn’t the only one producing offensively. Later in the fourth, with two on and one out, Van Pope singled to center to drive in Clint Sammons which was followed by a sacrifice fly by Gregor Blanco that scored J.C. Holt and gave Gwinnett a 4-0 lead.

The scoring barrage ended in the fifth when Barbaro Canizares led off the inning with a line-drive home run to left.

“The guys have been swinging the bat well,” Gwinnett pitcher Bobby Brownlie said.

The runs didn’t come easy Thursday, as Gwinnett beat one of Norfolk’s best pitchers, Chris Tillman.

“We had our work cut out for us tonight,” Brundage said. “We faced a good pitcher and I think we tired him out early on.”

Tillman lasted just 2 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on six hits.

Gwinnett’s starter James Parr also didn’t last long, but not because of ineffectiveness. Parr, who’s working his way back from an elbow injury, started instead of Brownlie and gave up two hits in three innings. After coming on in relief, Brownlie finished with seven strikeouts and surrendered the only run in the eighth inning when Justin Turner singled home Brandon Pinckney.

“I really feel like I’m beginning to progress,” Brownlie said. “I have a good feel or what I’m doing.”

Brundage said the key to Brownlie’s success was his ability to throw strikes.

“He pitched very well with the lead,” Brundage said. “Strike one is so important in this game and he knows how to get that first strike.”

Just as important are timely winning streaks, and with the win over Norfolk, combined with Durham’s loss to Indianapolis, Gwinnett is now just one game out of first place in the South and a half-game out in the wild card.

“If we had a bad four days we may have been done,” Brownlie said. “Now we’re right back in it.”

Gwinnett will try and improve the win streak to seven games when it begins a four-game series against Lehigh Valley at 7 tonight.

Notes: Gwinnett welcomed back Brooks Conrad and said good bye to Kelly Johnson, who hit .313 with two triples, a home run and eight RBIs in 32 at bats with Gwinnett. Conrad, who went 0-for-3 as the DH on Thursday, was sent back to Gwinnett after a 14-game stint with the Atlanta Braves where he hit .382 with eight RBIs ... The G-Braves wore teal jerseys Thursday to celebrate Beach Night at Gwinnett Stadium and with the win, improved their record to 1-3 when wearing alternate jerseys ... Gwinnett had two five-game winning streaks earlier this season, the first from April 26-May 1 and the second from May 26-30.
Friends to Follow social media