NORFOLK, VA - Behind the pitching of starter Matt Wisler and a pair of timely home runs, the Gwinnett Braves (20-16) beat the Norfolk Tides (15-22) by a 5-3 score on Monday night in game one of their three-game series at Harbor Park.
The G-Braves took the lead from the onset as Ozzie Albies led off the game with a double to left off Norfolk starter Tyler Wilson. Albies then stole third for his team-leading 12th stolen base of the year, and scored the game's first run when Johan Camargo grounded out to shortstop.
The 1-0 Gwinnett lead held up until the bottom of the third, when Pedro Alvarez cracked a one-out two-run double to left-center off Wisler. It would be the only extra base hit Wisler would allow on the night.
The G-Braves went right back in front in the top of the fourth when Anthony Recker (3) crushed a long two-run homer to left for a 3-2 Gwinnett lead. From there, the G-Braves wouldn't give up the lead.
The lead grew to 4-2 in the top of the seventh as Matt Tuiasosopo (2) drilled Wilson's first pitch of the inning over the wall in left-center for a solo home run, his first since April 7.
The Tides closed the gap to 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth. With one out, former Atlanta Braves outfielder Michael Bourn reached first on a throwing error by Recker and moved to third on a single to right by Johnny Giavotella. Gwinnett would relieve Wisler with Luke Jackson, and the Tides would go on to score when Alvarez bounced out to first, pushing Bourn across from third.
Gwinnett added the final run of the game in the top of the ninth off reliever Steve Johnson.Xavier Avery led off with a single to right, stole second, moved to third on a bloop double to right by Camargo and scored when Mel Rojas Jr. grounded out to first.
Wisler (W, 1-2) went 7.1 quality innings with six hits three runs, two earned, two walks and four strikeouts to earn his first win of the season. Jackson (S, 1) worked the final 1.2 innings with one walk and three strikeouts for his first Gwinnett save.
Wilson (L, 0-3) suffered his third loss for Norfolk by pitching 6.1 innings with six hits, four earned runs, one walk and eight strikeouts. Andrew Faulkner went 1.1 innings with one hit, two walks and one strikeout. Richard Rodriguez worked one third of an inning with one walk and Johnson pitched 1.0 inning with two hits, one earned run and two strikeouts.
At the plate for Gwinnett, Camargo was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Rio Ruiz was also 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Recker's two-run homer was his only hit in four at-bats. The solo homer by Tuiasosopo gave him a 1-for-3 night. The RBI ground out in the ninth by Rojas Jr. pushed his team-leading RBI total to 23.
For the Tides, Giavotella was 2-for-4 and Alvarez went 1-for-4 with a double while driving in all three Norfolk runs.
Game two of the three-game series is set for Tuesday night at 6:35 p.m. at Harbor Park. Aaron Blair (1-2, 6.26) will get the start for the G-Braves against the Tides' Mike Wright (2-3, 4.63). Tony Schiavone has the play-by-play call on 97.7 FM "The Other Side of the River" beginning at 6:05 p.m.
The Gwinnett Braves return to Coolray Field on Tuesday, May 23 for a seven-game homestand. Game one of a three-game series vs. the Buffalo Bisons begins at 7:05 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.