LAWRENCEVILLE – Brandon Jones has a flare for the dramatic.
A day after he hit a walk-off home run, Jones came through with a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday to give the Gwinnett Braves a 2-1 win and increase their lead in the South Division standings to two games.
"I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit," Jones said after the game. "The team was counting on me and luckily I was able to come through."
Luck had nothing to do with it according to G-Braves manager Dave Brundage.
"After last night, when you have the guy that won you the game coming to the plate, you feel pretty good about your chances," said Brundage, whose team was 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position before Jones’ hit.
Jones may not have had the chance to come through with another game-winning hit had it not been for Chris Burke and Brian Barton, who each singled in the ninth. Wes Timmons drew a two-out walk to load the bases and set up the dramatic ending.
This victory, which sealed the series win, is especially important for Gwinnett (67-51), which has five games remaining against second-place Durham (65-53).
"We play the game for series like this," Brundage said. "That’s what makes this game fun."
The two clubs battled for eight scoreless innings before Durham’s Rhyne Hughes doubled home Jon Weber for the game’s first run.
The last-inning win overshadowed the performance of Jo-Jo Reyes, who gave up seven hits and struck out four in six scoreless innings. Reyes has surrendered one run in his last three starts.
"He understands how to pitch and he’s gaining more confidence," Brundage said. "He showed pretty good stuff with the game on the line."
So too did Jones, for the second night in a row.
"We had plenty of opportunities before 3-2, two outs in the ninth," Brundage said. "You can’t draw up any better scenario for dramatics."
And that’s just what Jones wanted.
"It’s not surprising because I expect myself to come through in those situations," he said. "This feels no different than last night. A win is a win, especially when it is a walk-off win."
The G-Braves go for the series sweep at 7:05 tonight when Atlanta Braves starter Tim Hudson is scheduled to make his second rehab start