The Gwinnett Braves fell behind early and couldn't come back as they lost 5-2 to the Rochester Red Wings in the opener of their three-game series on Tuesday night at Coolray Field.
Four first inning runs and a run in the second proved too much for Gwinnett, despite 5.1 scoreless innings from the bullpen.
Starting off the game, Gwinnett (7-5) southpaw Sean Newcomb (L, 1-1) got off to a rocky start. After the first three batters of the game loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batter, Kennys Vargas cleared the bases with a triple off the center field wall, giving the Red Wings (7-4) the early advantage. The next batter, Daniel Palka, singled to score Vargas and give the visitors a 4-0 lead after their first turn at the plate.
The Red Wings added to their lead in the second as Leonardo Regintto singled, advanced to second on an error, and then scored on a single from Matt Hague to extend Rochester's lead to 5-0.
For the Red Wings, pitcher David Hurlbut (W, 1-1) got off to a strong start. In the first, he worked around a one-out double from Sean Kazmar Jr. to pitch a scoreless frame. In the third, Ozzie Albies extended his International League-leading hitting streak to 11 games with a single. A walk and a dropped third strike loaded the bases for Rio Ruiz with two outs, but Hurlbut struck out Ruiz to end the frame and keep the G-Braves off the board.
In both the third and fourth innings, Newcomb worked around runners on base to keep Gwinnett's deficit at five runs. In the fifth, Palka singled and Ben Paulsen walked with two outs, ending Newcomb's night. David Petersonentered for Gwinnett and struck out Niko Goodrum to end the frame and strand the runners on base.
Newcomb finished his start with five runs against (four earned) on six hits while walking four and striking out five over 4.2 innings in his third career Triple-A start. He suffered his first loss of the season.
After retiring eight straight batters between the third and sixth innings, Hurlbut walked Matt Tuiasosopo to end the streak with one out in the sixth. After advancing to second on a passed ball, Tuiasosopo came home to score the G-Braves' first run of the night on a single from Lane Adams, cutting Rochester's lead to 5-1. After the single from Adams, the Red Wings turned to D.J. Baxendale out of the bullpen, and the reliever induced a ground out from David Freitas to end the inning.
Once Peterson got the first two outs of the seventh with a runner on second base, the skies above Coolray Field opened up, causing a rain delay of 57 minutes before the inning continued with Kevin Chapman on the mound for Gwinnett. In 2.0 scoreless relief innings, Peterson allowed just one walk and struck out three to keep the deficit at four.
Following the rain delay, Chapman finished the seventh and pitched a clean eighth to keep the score at 5-1. In the ninth, Jason Motte made his G-Braves home debut and worked around a two-out walk to pitch a scoreless frame.
For the Red Wings, relievers Trevor Hildenberger and Drew Rucinski combined to pitch two scoreless innings heading into the ninth. Leading off the ninth for Gwinnett, Freitas hit a solo home run, his first as a G-Brave, to cut the deficit to 5-2. But Gwinnett wouldn't get closer as Rucinski retired the next three batters to finish off the win for the Red Wings.
Vargas led the way with three runs batted in for Rochester, while Gwinnett was led by Adams' two hits.
In game two of the series on Wednesday night, the G-Braves are scheduled to send right-handed pitcher Matt Wisler (0-1, 4.09) to the mound. The Red Wings are set to start Jose Berrios (1-0, 0.00). Atlanta Braves outfielder Matt Kemp is also scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with the G-Braves tomorrow night. First pitch at Coolray Field will be at 7:05 p.m.
Tony Schiavone has the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM The Other Side of the River beginning at 6:35 p.m. For tickets, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/tickets.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.