Minor dominant, Bisons rally late
Mike Minor proved to be a major problem in Gwinnett Sunday afternoon, taking a run at perfection into the seventh inning before a Bisons rally fell just short in a 7-5 G-Braves win.
Minor sat down his first 18 batters before walking Luis Figueroa to start the seventh. Valentino Pascucci then broke up the no-hitter with one out on a bloop single to left field.
The former Atlanta first round-pick southpaw struck out nine in eight shutout innings with just a walk and a hit, leaving the game with a 7-0 lead to start the ninth.
Reliever Jose Lugo allowed singles to Jesus Feliciano, Figueroa and Kirk Nieuwenhuis to load the bases with no outs in the ninth inning, losing the shutout by walking Pascucci. Lucas Duda followed Pascucci with a one-run single.
Fernando Martinez cut the lead to three with a pinch-hit, two-run single. Jairo Asencio inherited two runners with still no outs from Lugo before Michael Fisher drove in Duda with a fielder’s choice.
Asencio escaped with the save as Raul Chavez hit into a game-ending double play.
After his two-home run, five-RBI outburst Saturday, Stefan Gartrell walked in his first two plate appearances against Herd starter Mark Cohoon, but scored both times. He homered again in the fifth, a solo shot.
In his last two games, Gartrell hit 6-for-7 with three homers, six RBI, seven runs scored and two walks.
While Minor flourished, Cohoon allowed six runs (all earned) on eight hits in five innings with three strikeouts and two walks in his second start as a Bison.
Aggressive base-running gave Gartrell the first run of the game as he took home from third on a fielder’s choice hit by Brandon Hicks, just avoiding the tag of catcher Raul Chavez.
In the fourth, Hicks built a cushion for Minor with a three-run blast against Cohoon.
Hicks hit another homer for his fifth RBI in lefty Mike O’Connor’s first relief appearance since being optioned from the Mets.
Game Notes: Major league veteran shortstop Julio Lugo made his Gwinnett debut after signing with Atlanta last month… The Bisons face two more southpaws in their next two games in Gwinnett’s Yohan Flande and Indianapolis’ Justin Wilson… Pascucci stretched his team-high hit streak to six games… Pascucci earned his 34th RBI with his bases loaded walk… Duda has 10 RBI in as many games.