LAWRENCEVILLE – John Halama picked up his third consecutive win, Barbaro Canizares had three hits and three RBI’s and the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves defeated the Rochester Red Wings 4-1 on Wednesday at Gwinnett Stadium.
Halama — a 16-year professional and major league journeyman — threw six innings and allowed only four hits and an earned run in his best outing this season since debuting with the G-Braves (58-47) by taking a no decision June 16.
The last time Halama put up three consecutive wins was in the Southern Maryland Independent League in 2008.
"John is really giving us some quality outings," G-Braves manager Dave Brundage said. "He threw six solid innings tonight and really commanded the zone.
"We knew we could throw it to the bullpen then because they’re so well rested."
All night, Halama stayed ahead in the count and recorded eight ground ball outs and only allowed three walks to the Red Wings (49-53).
Francisley Bueno and Vladimir Nunez both looked sharp out of the bullpen for Gwinnett allowing only three more hits combined over the final three innings.
"I felt like I did what I needed to do by throwing strikes," Halama said. "The only thing I really need to work on is the walks."
Even with runners in scoring position, Halama managed to get out of early-inning jams with two inning ending double plays. In the first, he allowed two out walks to Jose Morales and Justin Huber before striking out Danny Valencia for the innings final out.
Defensive help for the G-Braves bullpen was just as nice. In the seventh, Van Pope made a diving stop at third base and fired the ball to first where Canizares applied the tag on a diving Tommy Watkins.
Canizares’ three hits brought an end to an 0-for-12 skid during the previous three games. He finished the game 3-for-4 with three runs driven in. His first inning double scored Brooks Conrad and Gregor Blanco. Then in the third, Canizares drove in Chris Burke. Conrad and Burke both scored after getting on base with doubles.
"Barbaro is the kind of player who doesn’t stay down for long," Brundage said. "He’s in the cage every day taking extra practice.
"When he isn’t hitting well, it doesn’t sit well with him."
Burke and Brian Barton each finished the game with a pair of hits for the G-Braves.
With the win, Gwinnett avoided losing back-to-back games for the first time since the first two games after the All-Star break on July 16-17 against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The G-Braves now sit 1 1/2 games back of the Durham Bulls in the International League South Division. Durham’s (59-45) game against Scranton was rained out Wednesday.
Tonight Todd Redmond (5-6, 4.85 ERA) will pitch for Gwinnett in Game 3 of the series against Rochester at 7 p.m. at Gwinnett Stadium. Atlanta’s Tim Hudson will make his second rehab outing for the G-Braves in the final game of the series Friday.