LAWRENCEVILLE, GA. - The Gwinnett Braves concluded a 7-1 homestand with a sweep of Norfolk, defeating the Tides 9-2 on Thursday afternoon at Coolray Field. Jordan Parraz went 3-for-5 with a double and four RBI while Ernesto Mejia went 2-for-4 with a double, home run and three RBI as the G-Braves completed a four-game sweep of the Tides. Right-hander Eric Junge threw six scoreless innings for the win.
For the second-straight game, the G-Braves opened up a 3-0 lead in the first inning and never trailed. Tides' left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada, making his first U.S. regular-season appearance in a Major League rehab start for the Baltimore Orioles, surrendered three-straight singles to start the game. Stefan Gartrell notched the third of those hits, lining a ball past shortstop Blake Davis to score Jose Constanza. Two batters later, Parraz drilled a double into the left-center gap, scoring Drew Sutton and Mejia.
The G-Braves increased the lead to 6-0 on Wada and the Tides in the third inning. Gartrell opened the frame with a walk, and Mejia followed with a two-run homer to left field on Wada's 1-1 pitch. Mejia's second home run of the season made it 5-0 and helped chase Wada from the game with two outs. Norfolk right-hander Steve Johnson came on and allowed a final run to Wada's line, issuing a bases-loaded walk to Constanza that scored Parraz.
While Wada (L, 0-1) struggled with six earned runs and four walks over 2.2 innings, Junge (W, 2-1) cruised in his third start for Gwinnett. The 35-year-old right-hander held the Tides to just three hits over 6.0 innings, striking out two and walking none. He threw 91 pitches, 56 for strikes to capture his second win on the homestand.
Parraz added his third RBI with a single in the sixth and fourth RBI with a groundout in the eighth. Mejia drove in his third RBI of the day with his team-leading fifth double in the eighth as well, giving the G-Braves a healthy 9-2 lead.
Right-hander Anthony Varvaro, also making a Major League rehab appearance for the Atlanta Braves, pitched a perfect seventh including a strikeout. Left-hander Jose Lugo couldn't preserve the shutout as he issued two bases-loaded walks in the eighth to cut the Gwinnett lead to 7-2. Right-hander Jaye Chapman (S, 1) stranded three runners for Lugo in the eighth, then worked a scoreless ninth for the save.
Mejia's big day extended his on-base streak to 13 games, while Constanza (2-for-4, RBI) and Sutton (1-for-5) each extended hitting streaks to a team-high-tying eight games.
Xavier Avery (2-for-5) and Matt Antonelli (2-for-4) had multi-hit games in the losing cause for Norfolk (5-10).
The IL South Division-leading Gwinnett Braves (11-4) now head to the road for a three-game series against the Charlotte Knights (7-7) beginning Friday night at Knights Stadium. Left-hander Yohan Flande (1-0, 0.00) is slated to start for the G-Braves, while the Knights will counter with left-hander Eric Stults (1-0, 1.64). 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.