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09/02/2006 7:24 PM ET
Braves take Appalachian Finals opener
Richmond, bullpen get Danville game from first title
Jamie Richmond, the league's Pitcher of the Year, went five inning to key Danville's opening win. (David Cross)

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Jamie Richmond and two relievers combined on a five-hitter as Danville beat Elizabethton, 5-2, on Saturday to take Game 1 of the Appalachian League Championship Series.

Richmond (1-0), the league's Pitcher of the Year, gave up two unearned runs on five hits over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out a season-high nine and did not issue a walk.

The 20-year-old right-hander went 7-1 with a league-best 1.21 ERA during the regular season. He allowed nine earned runs in 67 innings over 14 appearances, including 12 starts, and opponents batted .210 against him.

Tyler Wilson fanned four over 2 1/3 perfect frames before Kristopher Medlen retired the side in the ninth inning for his first save.

Trailing, 2-0, the Braves took the lead with three runs in the third. Danny Brezeale led off with a double and scored on Paul Bennett's double. Bennett advanced on a wild pitch by starter Alex Burnett and scored on Concepcion Rodriguez's single. Jon Owings capped the rally with an RBI single.

Ernesto Mejia delivered a two-run homer in the sixth, his only hit of the game. Brezeale went 3-for-4 with two doubles and Rodriguez went 2-for-3 for Danville, which totaled 10 hits.

Burnett (0-1) was charged with four runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings. The 19-year-old right-hander, who has lost three straight starts, struck out three and walked two.

Gregory Yersich went 2-for-4 and Josh Land ripped an RBI single in the second for Elizabethton.

After scoring two runs in the second, the Twins had only one base runner in scoring position the rest of the way. Garret Olson reached second after he and Yersich hit back-to-back two-out singles in the sixth, but Richard Sojo struck out to end the threat.

Game 2 of the best-of-3 series begins at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday in Elizabethton. The scheduled starters are Thomas Hanson for the Braves and Jose Lugo for the Twins.

Last season Elizabethton beat Danville in three games to capture its seventh league championship. The Braves are looking for their first title.

Chip Haunss is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.