There’s nothing like an organizational sweep to cap off an exciting Trade Deadline Day, and that’s just what the Braves’ system delivered on Tuesday night, albeit with a slight asterisk for a rainout in Mississippi. Taylor Motter powered Gwinnett to a win with two homers, Rome had two innings of 4+ runs scored and Augusta had nine hits and 11 walks en route to 22 total baserunners in a blowout. Yes, it was a good night.
(49-51) Gwinnett Stripers 6, (36-64) Charlotte Knights 3
- Taylor Motter, 1B: 3-4, 2 HR, 2B, BB, 3 RBI, .500/.643/1.500
- Pat Valaika, 2B: 3-5, 2 2B, 3 RBI, .251/.310/.393
- Nolan Kingham, SP: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 4.26 ERA
- Kirby Yates, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1.42 ERA
The Stripers jumped on the Knights early in Charlotte as first baseman Taylor Motter doubled and homered in the first and second innings, respectively, to help Gwinnett open up a 4-0 lead. Motter added his second homer of the game in the sixth to cap off his monster night with 10 total bases, a season-high for a Stripers player. The 32-year-old has been torrid since the Braves signed him as an MiLB free agent less than a week ago. Through three games with the Stripers, Motter is now 5-10 with three homers and five RBI. Pat Valaika knocked in the other half of Gwinnett’s runs with a pair of doubles and a single.
Righty Nolan Kingham drew the series-opening start for the Stripers and threw five innings of three-run ball to earn the win. It wasn’t always pretty for Kingham in his 70-pitch outing as he allowed two homers, but steady offense by the Stripers backed the Longhorn-product’s pitching line of 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K. The five full innings tied his longest outing in 2022 as Kingham has shuffled between the rotation and bullpen throughout the season.
Rehabbing Braves reliever Kirby Yates continued to work closer to joining the major league club with a scoreless inning out of the pen. Outside of a one-out walk, Yates induced a groundout, lineout and popout with 12 strikes in 18 pitches. It was nice to see Yates have a scoreless outing after allowing a run and three baserunners his last time out.
An interesting note from the win courtesy of the Gwinnett Stripers PR staff – apparently, it’s not just the Atlanta Braves who love playing at Truist. Tuesday marked the 11th straight win for the Stripers at Charlotte’s Truist Field dating back to May of 2021.
Mississippi Braves vs. Biloxi Shuckers – Postponed
Some unwanted precipitation at Trustmark Park means the Braves and Shuckers will play two on Wednesday.
(56-41, 20-11 second half) Rome Braves 10, (36-59, 10-19 second half) Greenville Drive 5
- Cade Bunnell, 3B: 2-2, 2B, 2 BB, 2 RBI, .171/.337/.293
- Jacob Pearson, LF: 2-5, 2 2B, 3 RBI, .264/.347/.365
- Cal Conley, SS: 1-5, HR, 2 RBI, .314/.360/.557
- Dylan Spain, SP: 3.0 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 6.00 ERA
- Landon Leach, RP: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 13.50 ERA
- Malcolm Van Buren, RP: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K, 3.86 ERA
With four runs in the second, five runs in the fourth and a 9-0 lead after only 12 outs, Rome coasted to a 10-5 victory at home to stay on top of the South Division of the “Sally League.” Eight of the nine Rome starters scored at least one run as 3B Cade Bunnell and LF Jacob Pearson each had multi-hit efforts and SS Cal Conley launched a two-run homer, his fourth blast of the season. For Conley, the HR extended his hitting streak to 13 games and gives him back-to-back games with a round-tripper. Since getting called up to High-A on July 12, Conley has hit safely in all but one game with an average over .320 and an OPS of .910, including 3 HR and 9 RBI total in his 15 games with Rome.
Meanwhile Pearson, hitting in the leadoff spot in front of Conley in the order, doubled in a pair of runs in the second inning before getting thrown out at third base after the second run scored. Another runner came home on Pearson’s second double of the contest in the 4th just before Conley’s two-run jack. From the 8-hole in the order, Bunnell delivered a flawless night at the plate, going 2-2 with a double and two walks. Like Pearson, Bunnell drove in runs in the 2nd via a double and the 4th with a groundball single up the middle.
On the rubber, it was a bullpen game for Rome as Dylan Spain got the call as the opener. Spain gave the Braves 3.0 scoreless innings in his longest appearance of his professional career, allowing one hit and no walks. Spain needed only 33 pitches to get through the 3 frames, firing 21 strikes. His successor in the game was Landon Leach, who despite earning the win, allowed the Drive to halve a 10-run lead with five runs allowed in the 6th inning. All of the Drive’s damage came with two outs, before Malcolm Van Buren put out the fire with a four-pitch strikeout. Van Buren stayed out for the 7th and struck out the side with two walks sandwiched in between.
(47-48, 11-18 second half) Augusta GreenJackets 7, (34-62, 13-18 second half) Delmarva Shorebirds 2
- Geraldo Quintero, 3B: 2-6, 2B, RBI, .262/.354/.427
- Stephen Paolini, CF: 2-5, 3B, RBI, .214/.325/.303
- Brandol Mezquita, LF: 2-6, 2 SB, 2 RBI, .285/.370/.385
- Kadon Morton, RF: 0-1, 4 BB, 2 R, .216/.325/.338
- Rainiery Rodriguez, SP: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 3.12 ERA
- Juan Mateo, RP: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 2.62 ERA
Runs in each of the first five innings of Augusta’s series opener against Delmarva were more than enough to carry the GreenJackets to the victory to start a two-week, 10-game roadtrip. Every hitter reached base for Augusta, who worked 11 walks on the night, including RF Kadon Morton who walked four times. The top three of the GreenJackets order all had multi-hit games as Geraldo Quintero, Stephen Paolini and Brandol Mezquita accounted for six hits, two runs and 4 RBI.
In the first inning, Paolini tripled and came home to score on Mezquita’s infield hit to give the GreenJackets the lead. After the Shorebirds tied it with a solo shot in the bottom half of the inning, Augusta regained the lead for good with two runs in the 2nd without the need for a hit. Three walks to open the inning, followed by a run-scoring wild pitch and a RBI sac fly from Paolini gave Augusta a 3-1 lead it would never relinquish. Of the seven hitters to cross the plate for Augusta, only two reached via a hit as the GreenJackets made the Shorebirds pay for all of the free passes.
Rainiery Rodriguez earned the win after six solid innings of two-run ball. The right-hander out of the Dominican Republic gave up two solo homers, but walked none while striking out four. Rodriguez has allowed two runs or fewer in four of his five starts since getting added to the Augusta roster in mid-June. In 34.2 innings pitched at Low-A, Rodriguez has 29 strikeouts to just seven walks and he was in the zone again on Tuesday with 59 strikes in 75 pitches.
To close out the victory, Juan Mateo struck out the side in the 9th inning, allowing a lone walk.