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Braves MiLB recap: JJ Niekro, Jared Shuster deal in winning night on the farm

The young Atlanta Braves minor-league teams went 3-1 behind good pitching and a slew of next-level debuts.

Miami Marlins v Atlanta Braves Photo by Brett Davis/Getty Images

It was an exciting night on the Atlanta Braves farm. Names like Vaughn Grissom, Justyn-Henry Malloy, and JJ Niekro debuted at new levels (quite well, actually) and the minor-league teams went a combined 3-1.

Here’s how it went down Tuesday night in the Atlanta Braves minor leagues.

Gwinnett Stripers (41-44) 0, Durham Bulls (46-39) 7

Box score

  • Mike Ford, 1B: 2-for-3, 2 2B, 1 K
  • Huascar Ynoa, SP: 6 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
  • Nolan Kingham, RP: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 K, 1 BB, 1 K

The Bulls pitched in true Tampa Bay Rays fashion, bullpenning its way through six pitchers that the Stripers simply couldn’t figure out. The Stripers mustered just four hits all night and half came from Mike Ford (both of which were doubles). They struck out nine times and left seven runners on base.

Huascar Ynoa kept it close for two innings, but Durham hung a crooked number in the third and never looked back. Ynoa struggled with the long ball, as two home runs allowed, one in the third and one in the fifth did him in. Nolan Kingham looked sharp closing out the game over two scoreless innings. Wednesday is an early 12:05 p.m. start and no starter has been announced at press time.

Mississippi Braves (38-44) 6, Rocket City (50-32) 0

Box score

  • Vaughn Grisson, SS: 3-for-5, 2 RBI, 1 K
  • Cody Milligan, 2B: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 BB
  • Jared Shuster, SP: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 12 K

It was hands down Jared Shuster’s best start of the season as he was on fire out of the gate. He struck out seven-straight hitters from the second to the fourth inning and didn’t allow a hit until the fifth. Both hits allowed were singles and not hit hard. It’s been a rollercoaster of a season for Shuster, but that’s two July starts without allowing a run and he may be getting hot for a second-half run.

Vaughn Grissom and Justyn-Henry Malloy were in the lineup for their Double-A debut. Malloy got the start in left field and went hitless, but Grissom did Grissom things. He extended his hitting streak to 12 games and on-base streak to 38 while driving in two. Drew Lugbauer got things started with his 19th home run in the first inning. Yariel Gonzalez turned in a 3-for-3 night as eight M-Braves recorded a hit in the affair. No pitcher has been announced for Wednesday’s day game.

Rome Braves (48-34) 7, Bowling Green (50-20) 3

Box score

  • Cal Conley, SS: 3-for-5, 1 R
  • Christian Robinson, LF: 3-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K
  • JJ Niekro, SP: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K

Despite what seemed like the entire team being promoted to Mississippi on Tuesday, the Rome Braves came through and extended their winning streak to eight games as they continue to dominate the second half of the season. JJ Niekro made his Rome debut and looked much like he did in his hot start in Augusta. Unphased by one of the toughest lineups in the league, Niekro cruised through six, landing 49 of 74 pitches for strikes and inducing nine ground balls to just two flyouts while walking none.

Cal Conley joined Niekro in his Rome debut and was a catalyst atop the lineup with three hits. After trailing 1-0 heading into the fourth, Landon Stephens quickly evened things up with his 18th blast of the season. It was one of three home runs by Rome, with Beau Philip and Christian Robinson joining in the fun. Robinson had a monster night with two extra-base hits and two RBI. No pitcher has been annonced for Wednesday’s day game.

Augusta GreenJackets (40-41) 6, Fredricksburg Nationals (46-36) 2

Box score

  • Geraldo Quintero, 2B: 4-for-5, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 K
  • Baulio Vasquez, 1B: 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
  • Rainiery Rodriguez, SP: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K

Rainiery Rodriguez turned in the Braves third strong start of the night. Although he hasn’t made many, it was by and far his best start of the season, allowing just three singles — one of which was eliminated on a caught stealing and the other on a double play. His six strikeouts matched a season-high. Tanner Owens pitched two scoreless to close it out.

Geraldo Quintero got back on track with a much-needed four-hit night. He led the way in the three-hole as Braulio Vasquez also recorded a multi-hit night, adding his second home run of the season. Kadon Morton added an RBI and an outfield assist as well. Jordano Perez is expected to start Wednesday.

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