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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Cristian Pache homers twice

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The young center fielder showed signs of life by hitting a home run in both games of Gwinnett’s double header.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

It was not the best of days for Atlanta Braves affiliates as they went just 1-4, but there were plenty of big performances. Cristian Pache headlined with two home runs for Gwinnett, and William Contreras added one of his own in a Stripers win. Elsewhere, Joey Estes struck out 10 batters for Augusta.

(32-35) Gwinnett Stripers 1, (25-38) Norfolk Tides 2

Box Score

  • Cristian Pache, CF: 1-3, HR, RBI, .238/.299/.389
  • Alex Jackson, C: 0-2, .263/.336/.653
  • Drew Waters, LF: 0-4, .251/.343/.401
  • Kyle Wright, SP: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 4.18 ERA
  • Trevor Kelley, RP: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 2.18 ERA

Gwinnett and Norfolk played two tightly contested games, with each side coming out with a win. Game 1 was a pitchers duel throughout, with both sides managing to strand runners and keep it a low scoring affair. Norfolk took the first lead in the second inning on a solo home run off of Stripers starter Kyle Wright, and Gwinnett took a bit to answer back. When they did it was Cristian Pache who rocked his fourth home run of the season to lead off the fourth inning. Two batters followed Pache with hits but were stranded on fly outs to keep the game tied. Wright had a solid enough start, but in the sixth inning, a leadoff double came back to bite him. After the runner advanced to third, Wright lost the handle on a pitch, skipping one past Alex Jackson that resulted in the go ahead run scoring. Gwinnett still had life in the seventh inning on a leadoff single from Sean Kazmar, but that was immediately erased by a double play. The next two batters followed with hits that put the tying run on first base but Drew Waters struck out to end the game.

(33-35) Gwinnett Stripers 4, (25-39) Norfolk Tides 3

Box Score

  • Cristian Pache, DH: 1-3, HR, RBI, .240/.300/.411
  • William Contreras, C: 1-3, HR, RBI, .421/.476/.868
  • Drew Waters, CF: 1-3, 2B, RBI, .252/.343/.405
  • Thomas Burrows, SP: 1 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 2.96 ERA
  • AJ Minter, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 0.00 ERA

Gwinnett went with a bullpen game in game two and the offense was able to keep pace and take down Norfolk to salvage a split. Thomas Burrows started out the contest by walking the first two batters of the game which proved costly a few plays later. An error loaded the bases against Burrows and then he walked his third batter of the inning to force home a run. He got out of it with no more damage by striking out the next two hitters. Connor Johnstone pitched a couple of relief innings to follow Burrows allowing one run to make the game 2-0. Gwinnett got going in the bottom of the third inning following a Yolmer Sanchez walk, with Jonathan Morales and Drew Waters hitting consecutive RBI doubles to tie the game. William Contreras gave Gwinnett the lead in the fourth inning on his fourth home run and Norfolk never caught back up. Pache tacked on an important insurance run with a solo home run in the fifth inning and Gwinnett’s pitching staff was able to close the game out. Dylan Lee gave the Stripers two scoreless innings of relief. Chasen Bradford took the sixth inning and allowed the game to inch closer on a solo home run, but he escaped and AJ Minter closed out the game with a scoreless seventh inning.

Next Game: 7/22 vs (25-39) Norfolk Tides @ 7:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

GWN: TBD

NOR: Kevin Smith (1-2, 5.00 ERA)

(40-28) Mississippi Braves 3, (21-45) Biloxi Shuckers 14

Box Score

  • Justin Dean, CF: 1-5, RBI, .253/.370/.371
  • Trey Harris, RF: 0-5, .259/.327/.348
  • Shea Langeliers, C: 1-4, .250/.336/.500
  • Victor Vodnik, SP: 1.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 5.49 ERA
  • Troy Bacon, RP: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1.98 ERA

It was just one of those days for Mississippi. The Braves were still in the game in the second inning down 3-0, and they loaded the bases on walks presenting an opportunity to start a comeback. This did not happen at all as they stranded all three runners and Biloxi immediately came back with three more runs to open the lead up. Jalen Miller doubled in a run in the fourth inning to tighten it up a bit but Mississippi never really threatened to do much after that second inning. It was 14-1 before they finally scored another run, with Miller again hitting an RBI double. Miller scored a few plays later on a single from Justin Dean and that is where the score finished.

To say Victor Vodnik didn’t have it is an understatement, as he threw more balls than strikes and couldn’t complete two innings. Vodnik got through a scoreless first inning, but allowed the first two batters of the second to reach base before giving up a three-run home run. After getting a couple of outs, Vodnik loaded the bases on two more hits and a walk before he was pulled from the game. Matt Withrow escaped that inning but repeated the script in the third. He walked the first two batters he saw and then gave up a three-run home run. Withrow didn’t allow another run after that and got through the fourth inning, and the middle relief innings went well for Mississippi after that home run. Troy Bacon pitched two scoreless innings to get his ERA below two, and Will Latcham shut the Shuckers down in the seventh. Latcham’s second attempt at an inning did not go so well, as he allowed the first five runners to reach base and allowed in three runs before being pulled from the game. Emmanuel Ramirez followed and allowed hits to the first five batters he faced before mercifully bringing the seven run inning to a close by setting down three batters in a row. Ramirez pitched the ninth and allowed another run.

Next Game: 7/22 vs (21-45) Biloxi Shuckers @ 7:35 PM ET

Probable Starters

MIS: Bryce Elder (3-0, 2.74 ERA)

BLX: Nick Bennett (1-4, 5.14 ERA)

(33-32) Rome Braves 5, (39-26) Greensboro Grasshoppers 8

Box Score

  • Michael Harris, DH: 0-4, .285/.320/.425
  • Rusber Estrada, C: 3-3, 2 2B, BB, .246/.384/.594
  • Jesse Franklin, CF: 0-4, .259/.331/.551
  • Jared Shuster, SP: 3.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 3.16 ERA
  • Coleman Huntley, RP: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 3.95 ERA

Rome made a late rally against Bowling Green but could never get a lead and lost. The Braves fell in a two run hole early and took a bit to start to show signs of climbing out. Rusber Estrada led off with a double in the second inning to get a rally started and Riley Delgado brought him in to cut the lead to 2-1. Bowling Green answered, but Rome was back on the grind in the sixth inning. Shean Michel led off the frame with a solo home run getting the Braves right back within a run. They went quietly through the seventh and eighth but Estrada once again sparked the offense with a single to lead off the ninth. Garrison Schwartz pinch ran for Estrada, and Schwartz was able to advance on a wild pitch and score on a single from Beau Philip to tie the game. Philip was then caught stealing and Bowling Green walked off in the bottom of the inning.

Jared Shuster had trouble settling into his start and allowed two runs in the first inning on three hits. That fits somewhat of a theme we’ve seen in Shuster’s bad starts, as eight of the eleven runs he’s allowed this season have come in just three of his 31 innings. Shuster then pitched the next 2 13 innings scoreless with only two more hits allowed. Matt Hartman was able to close out the fourth inning for Shuster but a solo home run in the fifth inning broke the Braves short streak of success and got Bowling Green up another run. Coleman Huntley had the best outing of the day and went three scoreless and hitless innings while striking out three batters. This took it to the ninth tied and brought in Tyler Ferguson to pitch. Ferguson allowed a hit to the first batter he faced and after a sacrifice bunt allowed a walk off single.

Next Game: 7/22 @ (47-21) Bowling Green Hot Rods @ 7:35 PM ET

Probable Starters

ROM: Jake McSteen (1-0, 3.45 ERA)

GBO: Tahnaj Thomas (0-2, 4.97 ERA)

(26-38) Augusta GreenJackets 5, (32-32) Columbia Fireflies 7

Box Score

  • Vaughn Grissom, SS: 1-5, 2B, .275/.376/.379
  • Willie Carter, RF: 2-4, BB, .288/.389/.413
  • Victor De Hoyos, C: 1-3, 2B, 3 RBI, .247/.282/.395
  • Joey Estes, SP: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 10 K, 2.98 ERA
  • Chad Bryant, RP: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 8.10 ERA

This game was going really well for Joey Estes until it wasn’t, but he still lit up the scorecard with ten strikeouts and no walks. Augusta’s offense was hideous through five innings and didn’t get a runner to second base, but after falling down 4-0 they woke up a bit in the sixth. Vaughn Grissom ripped a double with one out and a hit from Bryson Horne and walk to Landon Stephens loaded the bases with two outs. Victor De Hoyos came through with a bases clearing double and a couple of walks and a hit batter brought in the tying run to score. Then the pitching gave three runs right back to Columbia in the bottom of the inning. Augusta got another walked in run in the seventh inning, but stranded the bases loaded for the second straight inning and went into the late stages down 7-5. They got a walk from Willie Carter in the ninth inning but did nothing with it and went quietly.

Joey Estes has been one of the top pitchers in the system all season and despite this fell to 1-5 on the season with this loss. Estes started out this game on fire, setting down the first nine batters he faced in the game with seven of those coming on the strikeout. The fourth was more of a struggle as he allowed a run on three singles, but still allowed minimal hard contact. The fifth inning was a real struggle for Estes as he allowed three runs on four hits in the inning. He then was brought out for the sixth where he struck out a batter and allowed a double before being pulled from the game. Chad Bryant came in to try to keep the game tied, but allowed an RBI double and a two run home run that made sure that did not happen. Bryant pitched two scoreless innings the remainder of the game.

Next Game: 7/22 @ (32-32) Columbia Fireflies @ 5:00 PM ET

Probable Starters

AUG: Roddery Munoz (1-1, 6.18 ERA)

COL: Adrian Alcantara (3-4, 4.69 ERA)