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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Cristian Pache continues hot stretch

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Cristian Pache had three hits for Gwinnett to lead them to a win in extra innings

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

It was an admittedly rough situation on the farm for the Atlanta Braves organization, but fortunately Gwinnett gave some good vibes with a win in extra innings. Cristian Pache’s three hit performance and Kyle Muller’s six shutout innings were the lynchpins to the bright spot in the system. Rome and Augusta both had different, but equally poor showings in losses and I will just let you read the statement from Mississippi.

(57-41) Gwinnett Stripers 5, (52-46) Nashville Sounds 4 F/10

Box Score

  • William Contreras, C: 2-4, BB, RBI, .319/.377/.580
  • Travis Demeritte, LF: 2-5, .307/.408/.625
  • Cristian Pache,CF: 3-4, BB, 2 RBI, .261/.336/.441
  • Kyle Muller, SP: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 3.04 ERA
  • Sean Newcomb, RP: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1.80 ERA

Gwinnett played a thrilling game against the Sounds and came out on top in the end with the help of a huge contribution from Cristian Pache. Both teams got dominant starting pitching in the early frames and it was the Stripers who struck first all the way in the fifth inning. William Contreras led off the inning with a base hit and was advanced into scoring position on Travis Demeritte’s single. Yolmer Sanchez broke the tie with an RBI single into center field which scored Contreras. Two innings later Gwinnett added to their lead, with the first run coming on an RBI double from pinch hitter Travis Snider. The next batter was Cristian Pache and he ripped a double over the head of the left fielder to give Gwinnett command of the game at 3-0.

This lead quickly fizzled as the bullpen faltered down the stretch and the Stripers found themselves down 4-3 with three outs left to go. Gwinnett had the bottom of the order up to start the ninth, but they did the job to set the table. Yolmer Sanchez led off the inning with his second hit of the day, and despite the many pickoff attempt of Chad Sobotka pinch runner Terrance Gore swiped second base easily. This set the stage for Cristian Pache to tie the game and he did just that by grounding his third hit of the game through the middle of the infield for an RBI. In the 10th inning William Contreras came through with the go ahead RBI hit to score the extra runner and Sean Newcomb shut the game down in the 10th to give Gwinnett a win.

Kyle Muller pitched with a heavy fastball through the game and kept Nashville making weak contact to throw six shutout innings. Muller had the strikeout pitches working early in the game and recorded three of them through two innings, but his second time through the order he wasn’t able to fall back on that. He only struck out one more through the final four innings of the start but was still managed to only allow one more hit. The fifth inning showed off a bit of what Muller did all game. He started out the inning getting an infield pop up, the third of four infield pop outs on the day, and finished the inning by forcing two ground ball outs. Muller was relieved in the seventh inning by Jesse Biddle, and that went poorly as Biddle did not record an out. Biddle allowed a two run home run to bring the game within a run and then a walk and a hit before he was pulled from the game for Trevor Kelley. Kelley shut down the inning and kept the lead safe, but that lasted another whole inning before it was blown. Yoan Lopez had a poor showing on the mound, allowing three hits and two runs on his was to blowing the lead. He struck out the final two batters he faced in the inning. After Gwinnett tied the game in the ninth they turned to Sean Newcomb, and despite being horribly wild with his pitches he managed to pitch two good innings. A fly ball in foul territory forced the first out in the ninth and then he got two ground balls to end the inning with no drama and send the game to extra innings. There was a bit more drama in extras, as the first batter hit a sinking line drive into right field but Eddie Rosario made a nice sliding play on the ball to keep it from falling and scoring the tying run. After another fly ball out Newcomb pitched around the streaking Dustin Peterson to get to a left-left matchup and dominated the final batter striking him out on three pitches to end the game.

Next Game: 8/26 @ (52-46) Nashville Sounds @ 8:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

GWN:Kyle Wright (5-4, 3.46 ERA)

NAS: Josh Lindblom (4-1, 2.29 ERA)

(58-39) Mississippi Braves, (50-47) Pensacola Blue Wahoos PPD

(43-54) Rome Braves 6, (68-30) Bowling Green Hot Rods 8 F/10

Box Score

  • Michael Harris, CF: 1-4, BB, RBI, .303/.355/.447
  • Jesse Franklin, DH: 1-5, HR, .245/.317/.532
  • Luke Waddell, 2B: 2-3, HBP, .245/.327/.388
  • Tanner Gordon, SP: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 4.54 ERA
  • Jake Higginbotham, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0.00 ERA

Rome was on cruise control with a four run lead late in the game, but the bullpen blew the game late and the Braves lost in extra innings. Rome was quiet in the first inning of the game, but that wasn’t going to last and Jesse Franklin took the first pitch of the second inning yard to give them a lead. A Shean Michel triple in the third inning doubled that lead to 2-0 and Michael Harris extended it a bit more with an RBI single. Bowling Green got a run back in the bottom of the third inning, but wild pitching in the fourth allowed Rome to continue to pile on runs. A double from Drew Campbell and two hit batters loaded the bases with one out and Riley Delgado got a double to fall and score two more runs. Delgado tripled in the seventh and scored on a fly ball, which extended the lead to 6-2 and was the final run the Braves had in the game. In extra innings the Braves bats were dominated. Michael Harris was intentionally walked to set up a double play but the other three batters in the inning struck out and the runners were stranded.

Tanner Gordon had a solid outing for Rome, but allowed two big hits that clouded an otherwise phenomenal day. Gordon struck out two batters through a scoreless first two innings, with the only baserunner coming on a two out single in the first inning. His streak of good play came to a crashing halt when the first batter in the third inning hit a home run but he came back down and retired the next five hitters before a two out hit in the fourth inning. The home run ball bit him again in the fifth as he allowed another solo shot. Following this Gordon just went ham, striking out the final five batters of the outing including striking out the side all swinging in the sixth. Jake Higginbotham returned to action and pitched a flawless seventh, but the eighth inning turned into disaster quickly for the Rome staff.

Zach Daniels has been one of Rome’s better pitchers this season but he had a horrible outing in the 8th. He allowed three hits and two walks without recording an out and was pulled from the game with the bases loaded and two runs already in. Emmanuel Ramirez came in and allowed a hit to the first batter he faced to score the third run of the inning and bring Bowling Green within. A sacrifice fly tied the game, but Ramirez kept the game from going to far off the rails. Ramirez pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning and struck out two batters, and has done good work since being demoted with a 1.04 ERA. He’s also 27 so he’d better do good work in High-A. Benjamin Dum got two quick outs in the 10th inning to put him on the verge of escaping but allowed a walk off two run home run that sank the Braves and completed the collapse.

Next Game: 8/26 vs (68-30) Bowling Green Hot Rods @ 7:35 PM ET

Probable Starters

ROM: TBD

BG: Evan McKendry (3-2, 4.00 ERA)

(41-57) Augusta GreenJackets 1, (68-30) Charleston RiverDogs 9

Box Score

  • Vaughn Grissom, SS: 0-4, .314/.408/.451
  • Cal Conley, CF: 0-4, .274/.333/.419
  • Cae Bunnell, 1B: 1-4, HR, RBI, .213/.372/.433
  • Ryan Cusick, SP: 3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1.13 ERA
  • Austin Smith, RP: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 4.50 ERA
  • Braulio Vasquez, RP: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 0.00 ERA

This was not the game we want to linger on too long, as Augusta looked like Augusta has against Charleston all season. They even managed to hold Vaughn Grissom hitless, which is quite an achievement as of late because he came into this game with seven multi-hit games out of his previous nine games. He did, however, reach on an error because you can never truly stop Vaughn Grissom. The offense as a whole just didn’t do anything from the opening pitch, with the lone run coming in the seventh inning on Cade Bunnell’s solo home run. Bunnell has thirteen home runs this season and 41 extra base hits in total over 93 games. 13th round pick Adam Zebrowski made his Low-A debut and had a hit in the game. He also reached base via a hit by pitch which made him the only Greenjacket to reach base twice in the game.

Ryan Cusick had a solid outing for the GreenJackets but his control was shaky throughout as he only threw 30 of 55 pitches for strikes. Cusick allowed a couple of hits in the first inning, but forced a double play to escape the jam. The second inning didn’t feature as much luck as a throwing error with two outs led directly to two runs scoring. The third inning was Cusick’s only truly good inning, and while he did allow a hit he struck out the final two batters he faced to end a decent outing. Ben Thompson was solid in the fourth inning and struck out two batters, but he was not solid in the fifth and the game got out of hand. Thompson allowed four hits in the inning and walked a batter, with a total of four runs scoring to extend the deficit to 6-0. The rest of the pitching staff with one exception did reasonably well but the offense was never going to overcome that. Gabriel Rodriguez struck out four batters over 1 23 hitless innings, setting the high water mark for performance in this game. Austin Smith bounced back from a rough previous outing to complete 1 13 scoreless innings. This all ended as trouble brewed in the ninth inning. Martin Van Buren struck out three batters in the inning and that is where all of the good feelings ended. He walked four batters in the inning and hit another with a pitch, and one of those three strike outs came on a wild pitch that allowed the runner to reach base. Van Buren has struggled in limited action this season due to injury and this outing ballooned his ERA to 19.73. With the game out of hand Augusta turned to Braulio Vasquez, and I’m really glad they did because I cannot overstate the joy I felt this morning while typing “0.00 ERA” next to “Braulio Vasquez, RP:”. Vasquez got a flyout to thankfully end the inning and start his two-way career in perfect fashion.

Next Game: 8/26 @ (68-29) Charleston Riverdogs @ 7:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

AUG: Andrew Hoffman (0-0, 5.63 ERA)

CSC: Sandy Gaston (0-0, 3.00 ERA)