After losing their opener 5-3 on Thursday night the Tides came back to defeat the Bulls at Harbor Park on a cool and crisp early April evening by a score of 6-4.
Tides starter Jake Arrieta pitched 5 scoreless innings giving up only 2 hits and striking out 2 to set the pace for the Tides who jumped out to a 3-0 lead on Bull’s starter Heath Phillips who had to be one of the most frustrated players at the park last night. In the bottom of the fourth Phillips gave up a single to Lou Montanez who took second on a balk to Brandon Snyder. Montanez then took third on a wild pitch and scored when Snyder grounded out to short. In the 5th Phillips ran into trouble. With one out Tides catcher Adam Donachie doubled and advanced to third when Jonathan Tucker grounded out to second. With two out Phillips walked Joey Gathright and Justin Turner to load the bases. Phillips then walked Lou Montanez to score Donachie. Phillips was pulled for Heath Rollins who gave up a walk to Brandon Snyder to score Gathright before getting Josh Bell to ground out to end the inning.
In the top of the 6th Jim Miller came into the game for the Tides. Miller who has spent most of his career as a closer is now working middle relief for the Tides a role that he began last year. After striking out Bull’s Matt Joyce and Justin Ruggiano who then was ejected by umpire Fran Burke for saying something inappropriate on his way back to the dugout, I imagine that he was questioning Burke’s parentage, sexual preference or some other behavior and not the call and when tossed came back and gave Burke a piece of his mind.
Miller then faced Dan Johnson and with 2 strikes on Johnson gave up a monster home run that hit the back of the right field party deck awning before quite possibly heading into the Elizabeth River. That shook Miller who seemed to lose confidence and control walking Joe Dillon before giving up a double to deep left center to Ryan Shealy which scored Dillon from first. Miller then got Angel Chavez to ground out to end the inning. The Tides went down in order in the bottom of the 6th.
In the 7th Miller came back out gave up a walk but then got Elliott Johnson to line out into a double play when Alvin Colina got caught too far off of first. Miller then gave up a base hit to Rashad Eldridge and was replaced by Frank Mata. Eldridge stole second and was driven in on a single to center by Matt Joyce. Joyce then stole second off of Mata who then walked Chris Richard and gave up a single to Dan Johnson to score Joyce before retiring the side.
The Tides did not wait long to come back. The hitting which had not gone well in the first part of the game took off with two outs the bottom of the 7th. Justin Turner singled and Lou Montanez tripled deep to center field driving in Turner. As Montanez came into third the throw got away and Montanez started down the third base line after hesitating for a moment. He was then caught in a run down and avoided a tag by catcher Alvin Colina and scored easily when as no one covered the plate for the Bulls. In the top of the 8th Mata took the Bulls down in order. In the bottom of the 8th Adam Donachie singled to drive in Scott more for an insurance run.
Alberto Castillo came in to close the game for the Tides. He gave up a leadoff double to Elliott Johnson but then struck out the side on a combination of 94 mile an hour fastballs and some good off speed pitching leaving Johnson to die at second. In the win Lou Montanez led the offense going 3 for 3 and a walk scoring twice and driving in two. Arrieta and Castillo showed excellent stuff and Mata got the win after having a rough outing in the top of the 7th. The win evened the series 1-1 and the teams play Saturday night with Alfredo Simon making his Norfolk 2010 debut against the Bull’s David Bennett.
At the Major League level the Orioles new closer Mike Gonzales lost his second time in 3 outings lowing a 9th in inning lead for the second time and the Orioles lost to the Jays 7-6. Out on the West Coast the Giants downed the Braves 5-4 in 13 innings and the A’s clipped the Angels 10-4 in Anaheim.