LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — On paper, the PawSox four-game enterprise against the stingy Gwinnett Braves pitching staff ought to have gotten gradually easier after they got the better of Julio Teheran on Friday.
Manager Arnie Beyeler wanted no such notion inhabiting his clubhouse, as evidenced by his thoughts between Friday and Saturday night’s bouts and the outcome of the latter game.
“It’s one day at a time,” the Pawtucket skipper said. “It’s always nice to win. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first game, last game or one in-between. It’s important to just come in and win the first game of a series, but it doesn’t do any good if we turn around and drop three.”
So far, not so good. Gwinnett’s Todd Redmond, third in league ERA at the start of the night, bested Pawtucket’s Kyle Weiland in an arm-wrestling match of aces. And from there, the host Braves paced themselves to a 4-2 victory at Coolray Field Saturday night.
Weiland matched a season-high at the Triple-A level by authorizing seven hits, including a double and a home run by rehabbing Braves catcher Brian McCann. He yielded another four baserunners by virtue of a hit-batsman and three walks.
Weiland was forked out in favor of Junichi Tazawa upon walking Brandon Hicks to put men on the corners with one away in the sixth. Meanwhile, Redmond lasted an even seven innings, allowing one run on five hits, none for extra bases.
Weiland paid an immediate price for a hit-batsman when he plunked leadoff man Matt Young in the bottom of the first. Young moved from station to station on an infield hit by Taylor Pastornicky and a 4-6-3 double play before scoring ahead of Stefan Gartrell’s single to left.
Pawtucket nimbly pulled even in the top of the second. Singles by Lars Anderson and Daniel Nava and a walk to Hector Luna loaded the bases with nobody out. In turn, Anderson scored for a 1-1 draw while Gwinnett’s defense was preoccupied with its own 4-6-3.
McCann renewed the Braves lead in the fourth by catapulting a leadoff dinger to the picnic area in right field. Stefan Gartrell followed up with a walk, advanced to third on Mauro Gomez’s double to right-center and widened the gap to 3-1 ahead of a fielder’s choice that caught Gomez and let Ramirez aboard on first.
As Tazawa’s first challenger in the bottom of the sixth, Ramirez doubled on a plummeting liner to right that Nate Spears failed to nab on a slide. Although Spears recovered to throw out Hicks at the plate, Gomez had scored facilely from third to make it a 4-1 lead for Gwinnett.
Meanwhile, between the third and seventh inning, Pawtucket mooched three base hits off Redmond and its only runners to advance to second did so via larceny. Tony Thomas swiped the extra bag in the third, Jose Iglesias in the fifth. Naturally, both were stranded.
In the ninth, the Sox touched Braves reliever Cory Gearrin for two hits, including an RBI single by Luis Exposito, but nothing more.