LAWRENCEVILLE, GA - It took Atlanta Braves' right-hander Brandon Beachy six starts to pick up his first victory with the Gwinnett Braves (43-57), and he finally did so with 5.0 innings of one-run ball in a 4-3 win over the Indianapolis Indians (61-40) on Friday night at Coolray Field. A total of 6,525 fans came out to see the G-Braves win their fourth-straight at home.
Beachy (W, 1-3), looking to continue progressing in his rehab from 2012 "Tommy John" surgery, was around the zone all night in a 70-pitch, 46-strike effort. He scattered five hits, allowed one walk and struck out three.
"I felt like I took a little step forward," said Beachy about his latest outing. "I definitely felt more comfortable with my mechanics. I had command of my fastball, felt like my weight was back and I was throwing strikes."
The G-Braves' bats backed Beachy early on. Ernesto Mejia blasted his 25th homer of the season off of Indians starter Stolmy Pimentel in the second inning, opening up a 1-0 lead.
Gwinnett took advantage of two walks, a single and an error to score twice in the third inning. Sean Kazmar and Alden Carrithers walked to start the frame. With one out, Phil Gosselin punched a ground ball up the middle, scoring Kazmar and advancing Carrithers to third. Carrithers came around to score on an error by catcher Tony Sanchez, who tried to pick him off third base but hit him in the back of the head with the throw. The miscue raised the lead to 3-0.
The G-Braves added another run in the fourth as Stefan Gartrell singled, advanced to third on a fielding error by third baseman Russ Canzler and scored on an RBI single by Kazmar, extending the lead to 4-0.
Beachy's lone blemish came in the fifth inning. He walked Brian Bocock with one out and allowed him to score after a sacrifice bunt by Pimentel and a two-out single by Alex Presley.
Right-hander Kameron Loe replaced Beachy in the sixth inning. He dominated in his first two frames of work, facing the minimum and holding a 4-1 lead. However, in the eighth, Loe ran into trouble.
Darren Ford started the inning with a pinch-hit single and came around to score on a one-out double by Ivan DeJesus, cutting the lead to 4-2. With two outs, Canzler singled home DeJesus, making it a 4-3 game. Loe would settle down and get Andrew Lambo to fly out to left, ending the threat and maintaining the lead.
Gwinnett closer Cory Rasmus (S, 11) came on in the ninth and shut door, striking out two and retiring the side in order.
Pimentel (L, 2-2) took the loss despite pitching well for the Indians. The right-hander went 7.0 innings, allowing four runs, two earned on five hits and striking out seven.
Gosselin led the G-Braves offensively, going 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Mejia connected for his 49th career homer with Gwinnett, raising his team-leading RBI total to 67.
Matt Hague and Canzler both went 2-for-4 at the plate for the Indians.
The Gwinnett Braves continue their four-game series with the Indianapolis Indians on Saturday night at 7:05 PM. Right-hander David Hale (3-5, 3.28) will take the ball for the G-Braves against right-hander Brandon Cumpton (4-3, 3.53) of the Indians. The radio broadcast will air on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play, while the television broadcast will air on CSS with Mike Morgan and Dave Lezotte.
Saturday night's game is packed with action at Coolray Field. The first 2,000 fans in attendance will receive a Gwinnett Braves Notebook, courtesy of Charter Business. Wear your holiday best to the ballpark and enjoy decorations and yuletide-themed songs, videos and promotions for "Christmas in July." In the spirit of giving, eight sponsors have helped the club donate over 600 tickets to underprivileged children and their families. Finally, it's also the Kipper Tool Camouflage Jersey Auction as all G-Braves' players and coaches will wear special camo jerseys. Proceeds from the auction will go to The Fisher House Foundation for veterans and military families. Tickets are on sale now by calling the Coolray Field Box Office at (678) 277-0340 or by purchasing online at gwinnettbraves.com.