LAWRENCEVILLE, GA - One week ago, Freddy Garcia was pitching for the Norfolk Tides and having a solid season. Facing his former squad for the first time on Monday night, the right-hander was roughed up for eight runs on seven hits over 3.2 innings as his Gwinnett Braves (57-80) fell 13-1 to the Tides (72-64) at Coolray Field.
Atlanta Braves' second baseman Dan Uggla made his first rehab start for Gwinnett since being placed on the disabled list for LASIK eye surgery on August 13. He went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and exited after the sixth inning.
While Uggla worked his way back to Major League form, the Tides continued to push closer to a playoff berth with a dominating start from Tsuyoshi Wada (W, 5-6). The crafty lefty tossed 7.0 innings with one earned run on nine hits and struck out six for his second-straight win over the G-Braves.
Wada was backed early as the Tides scored in the top of the first inning. Chris Dickerson led off with a double off the base of the right-center wall, advanced to third on a fly out by Yamaico Navarro and scored on an RBI groundout by Henry Urrutia, making it 1-0.
Gwinnett evened the score in the bottom of the second inning. Brandon Boggs drew a leadoff walk and scored on an RBI double by Stefan Gartrell, making it 1-1.
The Tides ran away with the game over the next three frames, scoring a run in the third, six in the fourth and four in the fifth to jump out to a 12-1 lead. In the fourth inning, the Tides sent 10 batters to the plate and scored six of them. Urrutia delivered the big blow, as he drove a 1-2 pitch over the right-center fence for a Grand Slam, extending the lead to 7-1.
After the Tides added another run in the fourth, Navarro put it further out of reach in the top of the fifth. With two runners on, the shortstop belted a Joe Bisenius offering over the left field fence, making it 12-1.
The Tides added another run late in the game, and it was more than enough to beat the G-Braves for the 13th time this season.
Garcia (L, 8-4) took the loss, working a season-low 3.2 innings and allowing a season-high eight runs. Bisenius was tagged for four more runs over 3.1 innings. Left-hander Joe Beimel allowed a run over 1.0 inning and right-hander Mark Lamm pitched 1.0 scoreless inning.
The G-Braves had 13 hits on the night, but grounded into a season-high four double plays and scored just one run. Ernesto Mejia led the way with a 3-for-4 effort, while Jose Constanza extended his on-base streak to 25 games with a 3-for-4 night.
Urrutia led the Tides, going 2-for-6 with a home run and five RBIs. Navarro added a home run and three RBIs.
The Gwinnett Braves and Norfolk Tides return to action on Tuesday night at 6:05 PM for the finale of their two-game series. Left-hander Sean Gilmartin (3-8, 5.63) will take the ball for Gwinnett and oppose right-hander Steve Johnson (1-3, 4.58) of Norfolk. The radio broadcast will air on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM, while the television broadcast will air on CSS.
Tuesday is "Team Tuesday" at Coolray Field, with all kids (ages 12 and under) wearing their Youth Athletics jerseys receiving a free ticket with the purchase of an Adult ticket (limit one per adult). The first 500 fans in attendance will receive a poster of Gwinnett Braves' Manager Randy Ready, who will be autographing posters from 5:05 PM to 5:20 PM. For tickets to all remaining Gwinnett Braves home games, call the Coolray Field Box Office at (678) 277-0340 or visit gwinnettbraves.com.