The Gwinnett Braves drew a bases-loaded walk in the top of the ninth to earn a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Bisons at Coca-Cola Field as the teams opened their four-game series Thursday night.
After getting the first two outs of the ninth, Ryan Tepera gave up back-to-back hits then walked Omar Infante to load the bases. Tepera fell behind Ronnier Mustelier, 2-0, before throwing two perfect strikes. The count went to 3-2 and Tepera lost his pitch high to walk in the go-ahead run.
Manager Gary Allenson said he thought Tepera wasn't locating his cutter and would have liked to have seen him use his two-seam fastball once runners got in scoring position.
"He's got two above-average Major League pitches -- the two-seamer and the cutter," Allenson said about Tepera. "Once the guy got the hit with two outs and then the blooper fell in there, he got a little cutter happy with a guy in scoring position. He didn't have the command with it and ended up walking him. For me, you need to go right after that next guy with the two-seamer. You can't strike someone out until you have two strikes and if the command wasn't there with the cutter, I'll take 95-96 two-seamer all day long there."
Scoring from first: The Bisons took leads of 1-0 and 2-1 on RBI doubles which scored runners from first. In the first, Dalton Pompey drew a lead-off walk then hustled home on a double from Domonic Brown. In the sixth, Jesus Montero had a one-out single and scored from first on a double from Matt Dominguez for a 2-1 Herd lead. "I got help from Luis Hurtado," who was coaching first base. "He was telling me that the ball was in the gap so I started running right away and my mind was like, 'I gotta score here.' Just to get that run."
Double play day: The Bisons defense was spot-on early in the game. In the second, the Herd turned an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. In the third, third baseman Matt Dominguez fielded a ball and instead of the routine play to first, he threw to shortstop Alexi Casilla at second. Casilla then turned the double play. The Herd, meanwhile, hit into a pair of double plays turned bu Gwinnett in the third and fourth.
Quality start: Scott Diamond posted his 13th quality start this season, giving up two runs on 10 hits in seven innings. He threw 100 pitches, 65 for strikes.
Putting up zeros: Danny Barnes has a 0.66 ERA in his first nine Triple-A appearances. He pitched a clean eighth with two strike outs, giving him 17 Ks against five hits in 13 2/3 innings of work. He earned his first Triple-A promotion on June 22 after having the third lowest batting average against (.139) in the Eastern League with Double-A New Hampshire. "He's very reliable," Allenson said. He's pitched great since he's come up here and he's putting himself on the radar."
Rehab roster: Chris Colabello (return from suspension) went 0 for 4 with two strike outs and two fly outs to right. Ryan Goins (forearm strain) did not play Thursday. In five games with the Herd, Goins is hitting .227 (5 for 22) with three runs driven in.
Back behind the plate: A.J. Jimenez was activated off the disabled list before the game, catching and hitting seventh. He went on the disabled list June 26 with a forearm injury.
Decision on Morales: Left-handed reliever Franklin Morales ended his Major League rehabilitation assignment on July 20. Thursday was considered a "travel day" for Morales with the Toronto Blue Jays announcing they would clarify his status on Friday. Morales was on the disabled list with shoulder fatigue. In nine outings for the Herd he was 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA. He had six strike outs in nine innings. The 30-year old made two scoreless appearances out of the bullpen for Toronto this year.
Counting the house: There were 7,462 at Coca-Cola Field Thursday night.
Up next: The series continues at 7:05 p.m. Friday as Buffalo starts righty Casey Lawrence (2-2, 5.34) against righty Rob Whalen (0-0, 3.60). The teams play again on Saturday (6:05 p.m.) and Sunday (1:05 p.m.)