LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – Mel Rojas Jr. and Rio Ruiz each hit solo home runs and Aaron Blair allowed just one unearned run over 6.0 innings to lead the Gwinnett Braves (48-56) to a 2-1 victory over the Indianapolis Indians (53-52) on Wednesday night at Coolray Field.
With the win, the International League South Division-leading G-Braves matched a Gwinnett team record with their seventh straight win. It’s the first time the club has won seven consecutive games since April 14-21, 2014.
Rojas Jr. and Ruiz each went deep against Indianapolis starter Ryan Vogelsong (L, 0-2). Rojas Jr. hit a 403-foot blast to right field to tie the game at 1-1 in the third, and Ruiz pushed the G-Braves ahead 2-1 with a 408-foot shot to right field in the fourth.
The homers erased an early 1-0 deficit after the Indians got on the board against Blair just four batters into the contest.
After Danny Ortiz reached on a fielder’s choice in the first, Ruiz couldn’t handle a hard grounder by Elias Diaz, allowing Ortiz to race to third base. Josh Bell followed with a broken-bat single up the middle, putting the Indians on top.
But that would be all Blair (W, 4-3) would yield in his outing, as the right-hander struck out nine and walked two while allowing only five hits. He threw 63 of his 100 pitches for strikes.
Stephen Janas (H, 5) struck out one in 2.0 perfect innings of relief and Maikel Cleto (S, 3) put the tying run in scoring position before working out of trouble in the ninth.
Ruiz also doubled in a 2-for-3 night and Rojas Jr. went 2-for-4 as the two combined for four of the G-Braves’ five hits. Blake Lalli‘s seventh-inning single was the other Gwinnett hit.
Vogelsong held the G-Braves in check outside of the two home runs, yielding only three other hits over 7.0 innings in his second rehab start for Indianapolis. He is working his way back to the Pittsburgh Pirates after being struck in the eye with a batted ball on May 23. Vogelsong threw 59 of his 83 pitches for strikes and struck out two while walking one.
Bell went 2-for-3 with an RBI and Willy Garcia was 2-for-4 for Indianapolis.
The G-Braves and Indians conclude the three-game series at 7:05 p.m. on Thursday night at Coolray Field. Gwinnett will send right-hander Rob Whalen (0-0, 2.13) to the mound against right-hander Frank Duncan (6-5, 2.58) for Indianapolis. Tony Schiavone will have the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM at 6:35 p.m.
Thursday’s game is another Triple Play Thursday. For $40, fans can purchase four (4) infield box tickets, four (4) hot dogs and four (4) sodas. Tickets for Thursday’s game are on sale now at the Coolray Field Ticket Office, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets to purchase.