Atlanta Braves star Ozzie Albies had a perfect 5-5 night at the plate, including hitting a walk-off homer to lead off the ninth for Gwinnett, in the best outing yet of his rehab assignment. The five hits are two more than he had earned in his five previous rehab games combined as he nears a return to the majors.
Down in Rome, the High-A Braves won Game 1 of its SAL Division Series with a walk-off of their own against Bowling Green. Cal Conley hit a rocket in the 10th inning that led to a throwing error which scored the decisive run. Meanwhile, Mississippi was on the wrong end of ninth inning runs in a shutout loss against Montgomery.
(64-70) Gwinnett Stripers 5, (70-61) Durham Bulls 4
- Ozzie Albies, 2B: 5-5, HR, 3 RBI, .348/.348/.478
- Hernan Perez, 1-2, 2B, RBI, BB, .285/.331/.427
- Bryce Elder, SP: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 4.46 ERA
Ozzie Albies is close. The rehabbing second baseman of the Atlanta Braves looked like himself, going 5-5 with a walk off solo homer and three total RBI on Tuesday night. Up until tonight, Albies’ stint in the Minors has been inconsistent as he shakes off rust amidst a bevy of Gwinnett postponements due to rain, however he started this week with by far best performance at the plate since he began his rehab assignment. Against Tyler Glasnow, the Rays right hander who himself is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery performed last summer, Albies blooped a leadoff single to left on the first pitch of the game. With a runner in scoring position and two outs in the second, Albies again singled, beating the shift with a grounder back up the middle for the RBI.
Another bloop single for Albies in the fourth scored another run, before Albies showed off the wheels (and his healthy foot), easily beating out an infield single in the sixth. All four singles came with Albies hitting from the left side of the plate, but against a lefty to lead off the ninth, Albies showed off the power from the right side, sending an off-speed pitch over the wall in center.
Bryce Elder got the start for Gwinnett, and he was solid, allowing two runs, only one of them earned, over six innings. It wasn’t the cleanest outing for Elder, who had long innings in the third and fourth, but he allowed just one extra base hit (a double) and worked out of most of the trouble he encountered. Elder was in line for the win, but a couple of runs allowed by William Woods tied the game in the eighth before setting the stage for Albies in the ninth.
(59-72) Mississippi Braves 0, (68-55) Montgomery Biscuits 2
- Cade Bunnell, SS: 1-3, .316/.436/.594
- Justyn-Henry Malloy, LF: 0-4, 3 K, .284/.408/.449
- Allan Winans, SP: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K, 6.55 ERA
While affiliate partners Gwinnett and Rome secured ninth inning victories, Mississippi was not so fortunate, losing in the ninth in its opener this week. It was a 0-0 game heading to the ninth inning, but M-Braves reliever Kyle Wilcox made a mess of the frame with three walks and a bases loaded single, allowing both Montgomery runs. On the flip side, starter Alan Winans had the best outing of his professional career, going seven innings with 10 strikeouts while allowing just three hits and no runs. No runners for Montgomery reached third over Winans’ seven scoreless innings, but Mississippi was unable to generate any offense to help their starter out.
The Braves were two-hit in the loss, with Riley Delgado and Cade Bunnell managing singles. Mississippi’s only other baserunner was Andrew Moritz who worked the Braves’ only walk. Prospect Justyn-Henry Malloy did not have a banner night at the plate, going 0-4 with three strikeouts.
Rome Braves 3, Bowling Green Hot Rods 2 (10 innings) – Rome leads 1-0
- Geraldo Quintero, DH: 1-4, 2 RBI, .238/.347/.363
- Keshawn Ogans, 2B: 2-4, .167/.250/.208
- Brandol Mezquita, RF: 0-3, BB, 2 R, .193/.273/.228
- Royber Salinas, SP: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 10 K, 4.50 ERA
Rome and Bowling Green kicked off their best-of-3 SAL Divisional Series in Georgia on Tuesday, and Cal Conley delivered with a 10th inning walk-off to win Game 1 for the Rome. On a drama-filled night at AdventHealth Stadium in Rome, the second-half division champs used an eighth inning rally to take a lead before Bowling Green tied it back up in the ninth. Rome turned the tables back in the 10th and now need just a win in Games 2 or 3 in Bowling Green to advance.
Royber Salinas got the ball for Rome in Game 1 and recorded 10 out of his 13 outs via the strikeout, including his first eight outs. Salinas ran into trouble in the fourth, allowing a leadoff single and a two-out double to score the first run of the game. The leash was short in the fifth for Salinas, and he departed after earning his 10th strikeout of the game for the first out.
It took until the eighth for Rome to answer, but the Braves were able to cash in a pair of walks from Brandol Mezquita and Jacob Pearson via a Geraldo Quintero two-out, two-run single. Looking to close it out in the ninth, Grant Holmes quickly struck out the first two Hot Rod hitters before a pair of hits scored the tying run.
Unlike in MLB, the minors keep the free baserunner in extra innings in the playoffs, but Braves catcher Tyler Tolve eliminated that threat, throwing out the runner trying to steal third. Holmes finished the 10th unscathed to keep the game at 2-2 heading into the bottom half of the inning. Mezquita started the 10th at second for the Braves, but was still standing there after two quick outs when Conley stepped to the plate. The shortstop hit a bullet at the Bowling Green second baseman Abiezel Ramirez which was initially bobbled. Instead of eating it and avoiding further damage, Ramirez picked the ball up and rushed a throw to first which sailed wide. Mezquita never stopped running with two outs and scored on the error to seal Game 1.