LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – Richie Shaffer scored on a Joel De La Cruz wild pitch to cap a two-run sixth inning and Kyle Roller added the eventual winning run with a solo homer in the ninth as the Durham Bulls (7-5) handed the Gwinnett Braves (9-3) their first home loss of the season, 5-4, on Monday night at Coolray Field.
Roller took G-Braves’ reliever Brandon Cunniff deep to left-center leading off the final frame, putting the Bulls up 5-3.
Durham would need that run as Gwinnett made it 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth when Ryan Lavarnwayripped a single to score Chase d’Arnaud. But the two-out rally stalled against Ryan Garton (S, 1) whenBlake Lalli flew out to left to strand a pair and end the G-Braves’ six-game winning streak.
Garton got the first two outs in the ninth before d’Arnaud singled for his third hit of the night and Reid Brignac matched his teammate with his third single.
Gwinnett entered the sixth inning leading 4-3, but starter Mike Foltynewicz (L, 1-1) walked Taylor Motter and Shaffer before exiting with none out. De La Cruz (BS, 1) replaced the righty and allowed a single to Nick Franklin which loaded the bases. Jake Goebbert bounced into a 4-6-3 double play scoring Motter to tie the game, and De La Cruz uncorked a wild pitch that brought home the go-ahead run.
The G-Braves scored single runs in the first and second innings to open a 2-0 lead. Brignac plated d’Arnaud with an RBI single in the first after d’Arnaud doubled and stole third, and Emilio Bonifacioknocked in Ronnier Mustelier with an RBI single an inning later to double the lead.
But Durham battled back, working a two-out rally against Foltynewicz in the fourth to knot the game. Mikie Mathook led off with a single and scored when Franklin singled four batters later. Goebbert lifted a shallow fly ball into right field that d’Arnaud couldn’t corral before Foltynewicz got out of the frame with a strikeout.
For the night, Foltynewicz allowed four hits and four runs over 5.0 innings while walking four and striking out five. He threw just 49 of his 92 pitches for strikes in dropping his first decision of the year.
d’Arnaud finished 3-for-5 and was a home run short of a cycle. His five doubles are tied for the International League lead.
Brignac picked up his first RBIs of the homestand while also going 3-for-5.
Durham starter Matt Andriese (W, 1-1) allowed nine hits over 5.1 innings, but didn’t walk a batter and struck out five. Dylan
Floro (H, 3) and Tyler Sturdevant (H, 1) held the G-Braves scoreless over 2.2 innings, bridging the gap to Garton. Mahtook was 3-for-5 with a run scored for Durham.
The series continues Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. as Gwinnett right-hander Aaron Blair (2-0, 2.25 ERA) opposes fellow righty Jaime Schultz (1-0, 1.74 ERA) of Durham. Tony Schiavone will have the call of the action beginning at 6:35 p.m. on 97.7 FM and WSBRadio.com.
Tuesday night is the first “Two-for-Tuesday” of 2016 as all Dugout Seats are two for the price of one! Tickets are on sale now at the Coolray Field Ticket Office, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets.