The Norfolk Tides got back in the win column on a cool and damp Wednesday evening at Harbor Park. With the cool temperature and threat of rain the attendance was only 2571 but those in attendance provided good support for the home team. With the exception of some mist and very light rain in the 6th and 7th inning it was actually a beautiful night for a ball game with calm winds and temperatures from the low 60s to mid 50s.
After two games where the Tides bats didn’t produce, the Tides hitters gave their pitchers the hitting support that was lacking the past several games. Troy Patton got back on the winning track going 6 innings giving up 2 runs on 5 hits with 4 strikeouts. Troy was solid throughout the night and did not lose focus or control after a 4th inning home run by Braves Designated Hitter Freddie Freeman. The Braves collected an unearned run in the 8th off of Chris George on a walk and then a throwing error by Josh Bell. Frank Mata came on in the 8th to take over for George and he gave up a wild pitch which scored Matt Young. Mata would get the save shutting down the Braves in the 9th.
However, tonight’s big story was the Tides offense which when it is good is very good but when it is cold is colder than a hospital morgue. Tonight was a good night for the offense. The scoring was highlighted by a three run home run by Jeff Salazar in the bottom of the 3rd. The Tides never trailed and scored additional runs in the 5th and the 8th which were the difference in the game. Josh Bell and Brandon Snyder both had solid doubles; Snyder broke out of his slump with 2 hits and Bell had 2 hits and 2 RBIs. Joey Gathright went 2-3 with an RBI and Jeff Salazar went 2-3 with the home run and 3 RBIs.
The Tides attack began in the bottom of the 3rd when Joey Gathright got a 2 out single. Robert Andino singled Gathright to third bringing up Salazar. Salazar got down 0-2 but worked the count fouling off a number of pitches before smashing his home run over the right field wall. In the 5th the Tides were led by Blake Davis who played in Norfolk last year and was recently brought up from AA Bowie. Davis scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Joey Gathright. In the bottom of the 8th the Tides added two insurance runs when Robert Andino got aboard with a base on balls. Brandon Snyder doubled to deep right advancing Andino to third. Josh Bell then pounded a double to deep right scoring both Andino and Snyder.
Troy Patton (1-2 6.92) got the win and Frank Mata (S1 1.29) got the save. For the Braves Ryne Reynoso (0-3 6.60) got the loss. Tomorrow the teams will close out the series with a 1215 Businessperson’s special. Brandon Erbe (0-2 7.45) will get the start for the Tides seeking his first AAA win and he will face the Braves Tim Gustafson (0-1 12.27). The weather will be in the mid 70s with partly cloudy skies. I wish I could see you there but work beckons.
On a side note I collected my third foul ball of the season making me 3 balls for 9 games.