LAWRENCEVILLE — A 54-minute rain delay was all that stood between the Gwinnett Braves and the continuation of a recent hot streak.
Shortly after waiting almost an entire hour for the rain to stop in bottom of the seventh inning, the G-Braves quickly broke a one-run tie to win 2-1 and pick up their fifth win in six games on Thursday at Gwinnett Stadium.
Gregor Blanco’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the seventh inning scored Clint Sammons and gave Gwinnett (59-47) the one run it needed only minutes after the rain delay ended.
“There’s not much to say (during a rain delay.) They’ve been around the game long enough to know that you’ll lose a little bit of momentum,” Gwinnett manager Dave Brundage said. “We did a nice job of getting the ball into play.
Prior to the rain delay, both teams enjoyed solid performances from their starting pitchers, who both remained in the game until the delay. Gwinnett starter Todd Redmond pitched seven innings, striking out seven and walking one with no earned runs. The win evens his record at 6-6 and lowers his ERA to 4.54.
“I’ve kind of figured out my tempo was off a little bit earlier this season, and I’ve picked it up a little bit,” Redmond said. “I was able to get the ball down in the zone and keep the fastball down.
“Redmond was outstanding all the way through,” Brundage added. “He had it working the whole game, I thought. He had a nice rhythm, had a very good pace, threw strikes, pitched in the zone and let his defense play behind him.”
Redmond battled Red Wings starter Yohan Pino, who pitched 6 1/3 innings with five strikeouts and two earned runs. He took the loss, his first of the year.
Rochester scored the first run of the night when Steven Tolleson’s bloop single slipped out of the hands of Blanco, allowing baserunner Tommy Watkins to round third base and score.
Tolleson nearly scored on the next at bat when Gwinnett right fielder Brian Barton bobbled a routine pop fly near the right field, but Barton regained control of the ball to record the out.
Barton then made up for the near-mistake with a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning, clearing the center field wall and tying the game at one.
Redmond ended up in his first jam of the night in the seventh inning, loading the bases up after two singles and a walk. A two-out groundout to Danny Valencia prevented the go-ahead run, and Redmond left the inning unharmed.
The G-Braves quickly took their first lead of the night after the rain delay by loading the bases for Blanco, who hit a sacrifice fly off Rochester reliever Rob Delaney to score Sammons and give Gwinnett a 2-1 lead.
“We had a couple a guys get on base, and Blanco came through in the clutch,” Brundage said.
Luis Valdez picked up his International League-leading 20th save of the season, pitching a scoreless ninth inning. Mariano Gomez held the lead in the eighth inning, also scoreless.
Gwinnett returns to action at 7 tonight for the third game in its series with Rochester. Atlanta Braves pitcher Tim Hudson is scheduled to make his second minor league start as part of his rehab assignment after having ligament surgery on his throwing elbow last August.