Cody Martin made his sixth start of the season with the Gwinnett Braves on Thursday as they closed out a home-and-home series with the Durham Bulls and took the loss as Gwinnett fell by a run, 3-2. The loss was the second straight at Durham Bulls Athletic Park and the fourth in five games after going 1-2 at Coolray Field on the front-end of the set.
Both games saw the Gwinnett starter pitch well enough to keep the game close, but the offense could not deliver run support. Todd Cunningham and Tyler Pastornicky, the first and second batters in the order, led an offense that was held to three runs in the two road losses.
Cunningham was 4-for-7 with a triple, scored twice and reached base via walk, Pastornicky went 3-for-6 with a double, two runs-batted-in and drew two free passes. The rest of the team combined for a .083 (4-for-49) batting average against Bulls pitching.
The heart of the batting order, Brandon Boggs (0-4, 4 SO), Ernesto Mejia (0-for-6, 2 SO), Stefan Gartrell (1-for-7, 4 SO), and Joe Leonard (0-8, 3 SO), went 1-for-25 while striking out 13 times.
Brandon Beachy (L, 1-4, 3.00) started Game 1 of the set and pitched well in his seventh rehab start with Gwinnett, ninth overall, despite taking the hard luck loss. The Indiana native held the Bulls to two hits and two runs (one earned) while working 6.0 innings. He had some control issues, walking four while striking out three. Beachy totaled 86 pitches and seems to be on track for an early August return to Atlanta.
After the loss of Tim Hudson for the remainder of the season due to a fractured ankle, the return of Beachy to the Atlanta rotation is a key to improving a starting rotation that now has two spots that are not locked down. Mike Minor, Julio Teheran and Paul Maholm (currently on the DL) are the core of the rotation, while Kris Medlen, Alex Wood, and Beachy are the most likely currently on the roster to fill the other two slots. Word is that Atlanta will move Medlen to the pen and go with Beachy and Woods for now, but if Beachy suffers any setbacks as he continues his return from “Tommy John” surgery Medlen may find himself back in the rotation.
Atlanta is scouting starters that may be available and would like to make a trade to acquire a veteran with proven consistency to anchor the staff, but are also still seeking a left-handed reliever.
Martin (L, 2-2, 3.26) tossed five innings and surrendered three runs, all earned, on five hits while walking four and striking out four in Thursday’s loss. After giving up just four earned runs in his first 26 innings with Gwinnett, the 23-year old has now been touched up for 10 earned runs in his last 12.2 innings of work spanning his last three starts.
Wirfin Obispo (1-3, 3.81, 3 Saves) came on in relief of Beachy in Wednesday’s game and tossed 2.0 innings, allowing two hits, one run (earned), walked two and struck out one while not being involved in the decision. Thursday’s game saw both Juan Cedeno (0-2, 4.02) and Mark Lamm (1-0, 6.14) make scoreless appearances without being involved with the decision. Cedeno (1.1 IP,1 BB, 1 SO) did not allow a hit, while Lamm (1.2 IP, 2 SO) gave up two.
Gwinnett next travels to Charlotte to take on the Knights in a four game series before returning to Coolray Field on Wednesday, July 31 to continue the home-and-home series with Charlotte. The clubs will play three games in their next to last series with each other for the season.
The Gwinnett Braves are the Triple-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves and play in the South Division of the International League, one of two Triple-A leagues. Coolray Field is home to the G-Braves.
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