LAWRENCEVILLE, GA. - The Gwinnett Braves opened their 2012 home schedule with a 7-1 win over the Durham Bulls Thursday night in front of 4,699 fans at Coolray Field.
Jose Constanza and J.C. Boscan each drove in two RBI apiece, while right-hander Julio Teheran logged five scoreless, three-hit innings to pick up his first victory as the G-Braves moved to 5-3 on the season.
Gwinnett scored a run in the bottom of the first and never trailed in the contest. Luis Durango walked to lead-off the bottom half of the first, then advanced to second after stealing his fifth base of the young season. Following a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by Constanza to advance Durango to third base, Drew Sutton laced a single into right field to give Gwinnett an early 1-0 lead.
The G-Braves took full advantage of another lead-off walk that was issued by Bulls starting pitcher Jhonny Nunez in the fourth inning. After Ernesto Mejia reached base, Gwinnett followed with back-to-back singles by Joey Terdoslavich and Jordan Parraz to load the bases. Following a lineout by Josh Wilson, Boscan ripped a two-run single to give the G-Braves a 3-0 lead. The next batter, Durango, grounded into a fielder's choice, adding another run to the G-Braves lead, 4-0, as they headed to the fifth inning.
Parraz led off the sixth inning with his second hit of the night, and Wilson followed with a base hit of his own. Following back-to-back strikeouts, Constanza drilled a ball into right-center for his second triple in two games. The two-run hit gave the G-Braves a 6-0 lead before the craziest play of the game.
With two outs and Constanza at third base, Sutton made an attempt to steal second base. After the throw down to second, Sutton headed back to first, but not before Durham first baseman Juan Miranda committed his second and third errors of the night. Miranda dropped the rundown throw from second baseman Will Rhymes, allowing Constanza to score. Then, Miranda made an errant throw home, which allowed Sutton to advance to third base, where he would be left stranded. Nevertheless, the G-Braves scored three runs with two outs, bolstering their lead to 7-1 after six innings.
Matt Mangini was the only Bull to record multiple hits in the game. He also drove in the lone run of the night for Durham, in the top of the sixth inning with a single off left-hander Dusty Hughes.
The reigning IL Pitcher of the Year and 2011 Rookie of the Year, Teheran (W, 1-0) lived up to the billing, working five innings of scoreless baseball. In addition to four strikeouts over five scoreless innings, the right-hander also picked off two base-runners from first. With his first win of the season, Teheran lowered his ERA from 16.20 to 4.05.
Nunez (L, 0-1) took the loss for the Bulls, working just three innings. The righty allowed one earned run on two hits, while striking out three and walking one batter.
Gwinnett relievers Jaye Chapman and Ben Swaggerty combined on three scoreless innings to close out the game. Both pitchers struck out two batters each.
The Gwinnett Braves (5-3) continue the four-game series against the Durham Bulls (5-3) tomorrow night with a 7:05 PM start in game two. Right-hander Eric Junge (0-1, 10.80) is scheduled to start for the G-Braves, while the Bulls counter with right-hander Chris Archer (1-0, 1.50). Tomorrow night's game features a special appearance by Veggie Tales and Fox 5 Friday Fireworks following the action. Listen to the game on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play.
Tickets for all Gwinnett Braves home games are on sale now at the Coolray Field Box Office. Call (678) 277-0340 or visit gwinnettbraves.com for more information.