CHARLOTTE, NC - The Charlotte Knights (34-52) proved again why they lead the International League with 102 home runs, as they hit two off Daniel Rodriguez to account for all three runs in a 3-1 win over the Gwinnett Braves (40-45) on Tuesday night at BB&T Ballpark. Charlotte won two of three games in the series.
Both starting pitchers, Deunte Heath (W, 5-1) of Charlotte and Rodriguez (L, 4-10) of Gwinnett pitched very well and took a scoreless game into the bottom of the third. But there, Rodriguez walked Michael Taylor and gave up a two run homer to left to Tyler Saladino (9). The home run was the third in two days for the Charlotte first baseman.
The only other run of the game for the Knights came in the bottom of the sixth when Josh Phegley (11) led off with a solo homer to left for a 3-0 lead.
The G-Braves could not muster any offense against Heath, but finally got on the board in the top of the seventh against Charlotte reliever Nelvin Fuentes. With one out, pinch hitter Brandon Boggs stroked a single to left and moved to third on a single to right-center by Elmer Reyes. Edward Salcedo then plated Boggs from third with a sacrifice fly to center to cut the deficit to 3-1.
But that would be as close as the G-Braves would get. Gwinnett put two runners on base against reliever Taylor Thompson in the top of the ninth, but failed to score.
Despite receiving his 10th loss of the season, Rodriguez gave the G-Braves a quality start of 6.0 innings with five hits, three earned runs, four walks and seven strikeouts. Jorge Reyes worked 2.0 strong innings of relief with one hit and two strikeouts.
Heath, who pitched for the G-Braves in 2009, went 6.0 scoreless innings with one hit, three walks and a season-high 10 strikeouts. Fuentes worked 1.2 innings with three hits, one earned run and one strikeout. Thompson (S, 5) pitched 1.1 innings with two hits.
For Gwinnett, E. Reyes was 2-for-4. The shortstop has hit safely in all five game he has played with the G-Braves since his call-up from Double-A Mississippi.
For the Knights, Saladino was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer. Phegley was 2-for-4 with a solo homer.
The Gwinnett Braves now head to Durham for a short two-game series against the Bulls at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Game one on Wednesday begins at 7:05 PM. Right-hander Yunesky Maya (3-1, 2.17) will get the start for Gwinnett, while right-hander Alex Colome (3-1, 3.54) is scheduled to start for the Bulls. Tony Schiavone will have the play-by-play call beginning at 6:50 PM on WDUN.com, GwinnettBraves.com, Tune-In Radio andn the MiLB First Pitch app.
The G-Braves return home to Coolray Field on Friday, July 4 for a 7:05 PM game against Durham. Tickets are on sale now at the Coolray Field Ticket Office, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com to purchase.