Of the 10 consecutive wins the Augusta GreenJackets have strung together at home, this one has to be the most surprising.
Augusta's offense whimpered for six innings Thursday night against the Greenville Drive, but a six-run seventh obscured the previous two hours of frustration.
In a 7-3 victory, the Green-Jackets earned all but three of their nine hits in the seventh, a result that was difficult to comprehend because of the six innings that preceded it.
"It was kind of like a morgue (in the dugout) during the first sixth innings," said GreenJackets manager Dave Machemer, whose team will go for 11 wins in a row at home tonight against the Drive. "But for whatever reason, we're just coming alive at home."
Playing at home for the first time since July 20, Augusta went ahead for the first time when Josh Mazzola blistered a two-out, full-count double over center fielder Pete Hissey's head to clear the bases. Six of the previous seven batters in front of Mazzola had reached base.
"That was a great at-bat by Mazzola, fouling off some pitches and kind of checking his swing on that high ball ... but those were (also) some great at-bats by the guys in front of him," Machemer said.
Mazzola, a non-drafted free agent out of Missouri State in his first year in Augusta, leads the team with 13 home runs and 23 doubles in 349 at-bats. He also leads the league in RBI (77).
Trailing 3-0, Augusta's first hit came with one out in the seventh: a double down the third-base line by Juan Perez. He scored on Charlie Culberson's single, and the GreenJackets had their first rally.
Augusta's bottom five hitters all reached base in the inning (four hits and a hit batsman). A single by leadoff hitter Juan Peguero and a Dom Duggan strikeout then loaded the bases with two outs for Mazzola.
Augusta kept the game close when its offense struggled with a pair of sharp defensive plays: a sixth-inning diving catch in right field by Duggan and a difficult double-play turn by Perez at second base and shortstop Ehire Adrianza with two on base and one out in the seventh.
Left-handed Greenville starter Nick Hagadone, a 2007 first-round draft pick recovering from Tommy John surgery, didn't allow a hit in three innings. Michael Lee replaced him to start the fourth inning, zipped through 10 batters before the disastrous part of the seventh began.