The Richmond Braves jumped out to a 4-0 lead on the Durham Bulls Thursday afternoon, only to see the bullpen blow the lead and the final game of the series, as the Bulls won 11-4.
Travis Smith started and pitched well for Richmond, going six innings and allowing one run on four hits, no walks, and five strikeouts. But the bullpen had a lot of trouble. Joey Devine allowed a hit and a walk before leaving the game in the seventh inning with a recurrance of the lower back strain he first noticed in Atlanta earlier this week. Right now the Braves are listing Devine as day-to-day.
Scott Mullen then came in and allowed one of Devine's baserunners to score. Then Durham scored two more runs on him in the eighth inning before Franklin Nunez came in relief of Mullen. The Bulls didn't let up, scoring one run off Nunez in the eighth and then six runs off the Richmond right-hander in the ninth.
The Braves scored one run in the third inning on a RBI single by Michael Ryan. Then in the third they scored three more, one on a single by Carlos Mendez.
Richmond (3-5) will try to snap its two-game losing streak Friday afternoon when they hit the road for the first time this season. Damian Moss will face Rochester starting at 3:00 pm.
The night started well for Mississippi, as Macay McBride made another good rehab performance, but the Mobile BayBears would touch up McBride's relievers for six runs to beat the Braves 6-1 Thursday night at Trustmark Park.
McBride made his second rehab appearance and allowed only one hit in his one inning of work. The Atlanta lefty reliever will pitch one inning on Saturday and then two innings on Tuesday for Mississippi before the Braves re-evaluate his situation.
After McBride left, Mobile scored three runs off right-hander David Coggin and three runs off Bryan Digby. Manny Acosta walked two but pitched a scoreless ninth inning to close out the game.
Jose Oyervidez pitched well for Mobile, limiting the Braves to one unearned run over six innings. Gregor Blanco continued his good hitting by getting Mississippi's two hits on the night.
The Braves (3-5) will send lefty Chris Waters to the mound Friday night to try and snap their two-game losing streak. Game time is 8:05 pm ET.
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans finally scored some runs, but had a poor start from left-hander Matt Harrison and lost the series finale to Winston-Salem 6-4 Thursday night.
Matt Harrison allowed five runs on eight hits in 4.2 innings, including two home runs that gave the Warthogs a comfortable lead.
The Pelicans tried to bounce back as they scored two runs in the eighth inning. Van Pope and Clint Sammons both had RBI doubles, but Winston-Salem's bullpen closed the door to hand Myrtle Beach its fifth straight loss.
Now the Pelicans (2-6) will return home to start a three-game weekend series against Potomac. Luis Atilano will go for his first win of the season in game one Friday starting at 7:02.
Savannah won a pitcher's dual against Rome Thursday night at Grayson Stadium, edging the Braves 2-0.
Nelson Payano was fantastic starting for Rome, going 5.2 innings and allowing one run on one hit, two walks, and five strikeouts. The Sand Gnats finally poked through in the sixth inning when a fielding error by Elvis Andrus allowed a run to score.
Jairo Cuevas came in relief of Payano and struck out Dee Brown to end the sixth inning. Savannah would plate one run on Cuevas in the seventh inning on a RBI double by Mike Daniel, but Cuevas would shut them down after that. He walked one and struck out four.
The Braves had only six hits in the game, as Savannah's John Lannan pitched seven scoreless innings. Second baseman Brandon Monk had two hits. Elvis Andrus was 1-for-4 with a double. He's now hitting .276 on the young season.
Rome (5-2) closes out its series with Savannah Friday night at 7:05 with lefty Jo Jo Reyes (1-0) getting the start.
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. Email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.