LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – The Gwinnett Braves (54-66) scored twice in the seventh inning and three more times in the eighth inning to stun the Louisville Bats (59-63) 7-6 on Saturday night at Coolray Field.
The win, coupled with Durham’s 5-1 loss vs. Charlotte, moves the G-Braves a half-game ahead of the Bulls for first place in the International League South Division.
Down 6-2 heading to the bottom of the seventh, Gwinnett battled back against reliever A.J. Morris.Reid Brignac and Emilio Bonifacio reached on one-out singles, and with two outs, Tyler Flowers struck out swinging but reached on a wild pitch that rolled all the way to the backstop, allowing Brignac to score. Rio Ruiz followed with an RBI single to right, cutting the deficit to 6-4.
In the eighth, Matt Lipka singled to start the inning, and newest G-Brave Kyle Kubitza tripled into the left-field corner to bring Gwinnett within one. A single to center by Daniel Castro tied the game, and three batters later, Castro raced home when Louisville center fielder Beau Amaral dropped a line drive off Infante’s bat.
Shae Simmons (S, 1) polished off the win with a perfect ninth for his first save of the season, ending the G-Braves’ three-game losing skid.
Louisville had improved its lead against Stephen Janas and Chad Rogers in the seventh, scoring three unearned runs to go up 6-2. But Rogers (W, 3-4) worked around a pair of walks in the eighth to earn his first win with Gwinnett and third of the year.
The Bats got to G-Braves’ starter Matt Wisler for three runs on eight hits over 5.2 innings, working three walks against the right-hander. But Wisler threw 71 of his 105 pitches for strikes and struck out five in his third outing for Gwinnett.
Playing for just the second time since fracturing his left hand on July 10, Flowers went 2-for-4 and reached base three times in his second MLB rehab game for the Atlanta Braves. He was one of six G-Braves’ hitters with two hits in the game as the club recorded 15 in total.
Ruiz was 2-for-5 with two RBIs in his fourth multi-hit effort over his last six games to lead the Gwinnett attack. Bonifacio, Castro, Lipka and Mel Rojas Jr. all had two hits for the G-Braves.
Amaral continued his hot hitting in the series, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored after collecting two hits and scoring four times in Louisville’s 9-8 victory on Friday. Bryson Smith and Ray Chang each had two RBIs for the Bats.
The G-Braves and Bats conclude the three-game series at 2:05 p.m. on Sunday afternoon at Coolray Field. Atlanta Braves’ right-hander Julio Teheran (3-9, 2.81 in 21 starts for Atlanta) is scheduled to make a rehab start for the G-Braves against right-hander Alfredo Simon (0-1, 3.00) for Louisville. Tony Schiavone will have the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM at 1:35 p.m.
It’s another “Sunday Funday” presented by Georgia United Credit Union. Fans are welcome to play catch on the field before the game from 1:10-1:30 and fans 12-and-under can run the bases following the game. Tickets for Sunday’s game are on sale now at the Coolray Field Ticket Office, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets to purchase.