LAWRENCEVILLE — Sometimes, one inning is all that’s needed to win a game.
The Gwinnett Braves found that out Tuesday, when they scored seven runs with two outs in the eighth inning to rally from a six-run deficit and defeat the Louisville Bats 8-7 at Gwinnett Stadium.
The seven runs is the most scored in one inning in G-Braves history, breaking the previous record of six scored in the second inning on April 11. It also marks the first time this season Gwinnett (43-37) has won a game when trailing after the seventh inning.
"It just goes to show that you’re never out of it," Braves manager Dave Brundage said. "The last few games we’ve put together some rallies and we were short, and today we took advantage of a good-hitting ballpark."
The explosive inning was highlighted by pinch hitter Reid Gorecki’s two-out grand slam off Bats reliever Federico Baez that tied the game 7-7, followed by a go-ahead home run by Jordan Schafer.
"I had just fouled off a fastball and I knew he (Baez) was coming with another one," Gorecki said. "It was in the middle of the plate and I was trying to get something up into the wind.
"I told myself to be patient and put more pressure on them than myself," Gorecki added. "He (Baez) put me in a good situation to hit."
Gorecki entered the game with the bases loaded after Brandon Jones’ and Wes Timmons’ RBI doubles and Chris Burke’s RBI single earlier in the eighth inning. Gwinnett had six total hits in the inning, one more than the rest of the game combined.
Schafer, Timmons and Chris Burke led the G-Braves at the plate, each with two hits. Timmons extended his on-base streak to 26 games, the longest in International League play this season.
Through the first seven innings, the G-Braves struggled against Louisville pitcher Sam LeCure, who allowed only one run. He was matched up against Gwinnett starter Todd Redmond, who pitched six innings, giving up three earned runs, no walks and striking out eight, one shy of his career-best. Neither starting pitcher earned a decision.
"I felt like I pitched good," Redmond said. "I was able to command my fastball in and out and command the outside corners. Other than that, the hitters did a good job late in the game and got me out of a loss."
Louisville’s first offensive spark of the day came in the second inning, when Adam Rosales connected for a deep triple, then scored on the same play when Schafer’s throw from center field to third base sailed into the dugout.
The Bats increased their lead to three through three innings on their next two hits, solo home runs from Chris Heisey and Chris Valaika.
Gwinnett found the scoreboard for the first time in the fifth inning, when Clint Sammons hit a deep fly that brushed against the left field foul pole for a home run, bringing the Braves within two runs of Louisville.
The Bats countered Sammons’ home run with two runs in the sixth inning, both coming home on a double by Darnell McDonald.
Louisville expanded its lead to five in the seventh inning on an RBI groundout by Drew Stubbs and Heisey’s RBI double.
Heisey finished the day 3-for-4 with two doubles, two runs and an RBI, and was the only Bat with multiple hits. Rosales also added two runs for Louisville.
Gwinnett’s high-scoring eighth inning began when Timmons’ doubled, then scored on a double by Jones. Burke drove in Jones with a single, followed by Brian Barton’s single and Sammons’ walk that loaded the bases. With two outs, Gorecki connected on a full-count pitch, which the high winds carried over the left-center field wall.
"Gorecki had an outstanding at-bat," Brundage said. "He was very patient and stayed committed to getting a good pitch."
Schafer’s home run followed, giving the Braves their first lead of the day and the eventual win.
Baez picked up his first loss of the season in relief for Louisville, while Luis Valdes pitching one inning for the win. Abraham Nunez recorded his second save of the season.
Gwinnett takes today off before beginning a two-game road series against the Norfolk Tides at 7:15 p.m. Thursday.