LAWRENCEVILLE, GA - From his first pitch to his last, Andrew Albers was in fine form as he tossed 8.0 brilliant innings and drove in a run at the plate to lead the Gwinnett Braves (56-60) to a 3-1 win over the Louisville Bats (46-70) on Thursday night at Coolray Field.
By giving up just one run on seven hits while walking two and striking out four, Albers (W, 12-3) became Gwinnett's first 12-game winner since Julio Teheran went 15-3 in 2011. Over his last eight starts, Albers is 6-0 with a 0.98 ERA (6 ER in 55.1 IP) and seven quality starts.
The veteran left-hander helped himself at the plate in the second inning. After Emerson Landoni and Kade Scivicque hit back-to-back two-out singles against Louisville starter Cody Reed (L, 4-8), Albers then stepped to the plate and grounded a single up the middle to score Landoni with the game's first run. The RBI was the first of Albers' professional career.
Gwinnett extended the lead in the seventh inning as consecutive doubles by Ronald Acuna and Xavier Avery plated a run, and Matt Tuiasosopo lifted a sacrifice fly to right to score Avery. The two runs scored off Bats' reliever Kyle McMyne, raising the lead to 3-0.
Louisville got on the board in the eighth as Phil Ervin tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly from Sebastian Elizalde to end Albers' rotation-best scoreless innings streak at 22.1, but the visitors would get no closer.
In the ninth, the first two Bats' hitters reached base against Gwinnett reliever Evan Phillips (S, 2). But the right-hander rebounded to retire the next three batters to finish the win as the G-Braves snapped their three-game losing streak.
With his double in the seventh inning, Acuna extended his hitting streak to 10 games. Avery went 3-for-4 with a double, run scored, RBI and stolen base. In his first game back from Double-A Mississippi, Landoni went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
Louisville was led by a 3-for-4 night from Ervin, who scored the Bats' only run. On the mound, Reed gave up one earned run on six hits while walking four and striking out five in 6.0 innings, but he suffered the loss.
In game two of the series on Friday night, right-hander Aaron Blair (7-6, 4.65 ERA) is scheduled to start for Gwinnett against Louisville right-hander Jackson Stephens (7-7, 5.11 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. Dave Lezotte 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.