LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – Rio Ruiz hit a tie-breaking solo home run leading off the eighth inning, lifting the Gwinnett Braves (25-27) to a 6-5 victory over the Pawtucket Red Sox (24-27) Monday night at Coolray Field.
Ruiz took reliever Roman Mendez (L, 1-1) just over the wall in right-center on the first pitch of the inning for his third homer of the season. He hadn’t homered since April 22 at Charlotte and it was only his fourth extra-base hit of the month.
Jose Ramirez allowed two hits in the ninth, but struck out Chris Dominguez with runners at first and second to earn his first save of the season.
Gwinnett erupted for five runs in the fourth inning against Pawtucket starter Roenis Elias, batting around and having seven straight hitters reach base safely. With one out, Matt Tuiasosopo, Brandon Snyder and Ronnier Mustelier collected consecutive singles, the latter getting the G-Braves on the board at 2-1. With Ruiz at the plate, Elias uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Snyder to slide in with Gwinnett’s second run.
Ruiz and Anthony Recker walked before Emerson Landoni ripped an RBI single and Ozzie Albiesdumped a two-RBI single into shallow center, putting the G-Braves up 5-2.
But Pawtucket fought back against G-Braves’ starter John Gant, as Sandy Leon hit a solo home run into the Red Sox’ bullpen in the sixth and the visitors scored twice against Gant in the seventh.
After getting the first out of the seventh, Gant walked Rusney Castillo and yielded a single to Justin Maxwell. Castillo tried to go to third, but Mustelier cut him down at third for the second out. Chris Marrero followed with an RBI double and Bryce Brentz chased Gant with an RBI single, tying the score.
Gant allowed 11 hits in 6.2 innings (matching a season-high), while walking only one and striking out six. Brentz doubled home Maxwell in the first and Deven Marrero beat out a potential inning-ending double play to score a run in the fourth.
Matt Marksberry (W, 1-2) allowed one hit in 1.1 innings to get his first win of the season and Ramirez (S, 1) notched his first save since July 29, 2015 while pitching for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
Albies, Landoni and Tuiasosopo each had two hits as the G-Braves got 10 against Red Sox’ pitching. Albies singled and doubled and Tuiasosopo was 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
Maxwell went 4-for-5 with two runs scored and Brentz was 3-for-5 with two RBI for Pawtucket, which pounded out 14 hits but went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base.
The G-Braves and Bulls continue the three-game series Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. at Coolray Field. Lawrenceville native Lucas Sims (1-3, 5.19) will pitch for the G-Braves against lefty Henry Owens (3-2, 3.52) for the Red Sox. Tony Schiavone will have the play-by-play on 97.7 FM at 6:35 p.m.
It’s a Two-for-Tuesday night, as all Dugout seats are two for the price of one. Tickets for Tuesday’s game are on sale now at the Coolray Field Ticket Office, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets to purchase.