Updated April 4
"We're not pretty," Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of his team before Tuesday's exhibition game at Coolray Field. "We're like hyenas -- they hunt in packs."
Not pretty would describe Atlanta's 4-3 victory Tuesday. The parent club, which opens its season Thursday in New York, had to come from behind to lead the Future Stars team of minor leaguers. Then the rain that had been falling intensified in the seventh, forcing play to be called.
A record Coolray Field crowd of 10,568 watched the game, which included legendary former Manager Bobby Cox leading the Future Stars.
A double by All Star Brian McCann, a Duluth High grad, scored pinch-runner Luis Durango to put Atlanta ahead 4-3 in the fifth. McCann struck out in his previous two at-bats.
Earlier in the fifth, Martin Prado had a run-scoring triple in the Atlanta comeback. The Future Stars had taken a 3-1 lead in their half of the fifth inning.
In the first, the Future Stars took a 1-0 lead, thanks to a walk and a throwing error by Freddie Freeman, which allowed Matt Lipka of Class A Lynchburg to advance to third and later score. The RBI went to Joey Terdoslavich on a groundout.
However, Atlanta pulled even in the second inning on a home run by Dan Uggla.
"We can't think we're going to throw our bats out there and win," Gonzalez said before the game. "They're (the Braves Futures team) jacked up. They've got some good players over there."
The big club meant business.
"It's indicative of what we think of the Gwinnett franchise," Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz, who was GM during the team's glory days of the 1990s, said Tuesday at Coolray. "It's all good." Schuerholz later led the crowd in "Take Me Out To the Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch.
Indeed, the A-Braves had their usual starting lineup/batting order ready: CF Bourn, LF Prado, DH McCann, 2B Uggla, 1B Freeman, RF Jayson Heyward, 3B Juan Francisco, C David Ross, SS Tyler Pastornicky (a Gwinnett Brave in 2011).
Lefty Mike Minor, also with the G-Braves for part of 2011, was the Atlanta starting pitcher. Also taking the mound for the big club were Livan Hernandez, Kris Medlen, Eric O'Flaherty and Christhian Martinez, the winning pitcher despite surrendering two runs.
Also, in uniform and taking batting practice was team icon Chipper Jones, who is on the disabled list but who Gonzalez hopes can be activated by the time the Braves open their season at home.