After a slow start to the season with a fair number of disastrous outings the Norfolk Tides pitchers and hitters seem to be back in sync and performing to the level expected at the beginning of the season. Playing in cloudy and cool conditions On Saturday night the Tides took on the Knights at Knight’s Stadium in Rock Hill South Carolina in front of 3621 Charlotte fans. Tides starting pitcher Jake Arrieta dominated the Charlotte batting order Tides hitters continued to hit the Knight’s pitching staff hard. Arrieta has been as close as perfect to perfect a pitcher can be this early in the season and absolutely dominating in each game that he has pitched. Jake won his second of the season against no losses pitching seven innings of scoreless ball bringing his ERA down to an International League leading 0.36 ERA. Jake gave up two hits and a walk and struck out eleven in getting the win. Armando Gabino (0-0 2.70) pitched the 8th inning giving up a run on one hit and a walk while striking out two. Frank Mata (0-0 S3 2.00) closed the game notching his third save while giving up a run on two hits and a walk. Tides pitchers allowed no extra base hits and only 4 hits during the game.
The Tides made the most of their hits in this game being very efficient and got their four runs on five hits while playing error free ball during the win. Catcher Adam Donachie hit his second home run in two days off of Knights starter Carlos Torres and Scott Moore got his second of the season a solo shot also off of Torres. The Knights had two runs on four hits also with no errors in the loss.
On Sunday afternoon in front of 2835 fans in ideal weather conditions of cloudy with 75 degree temperatures and 14 MPH winds blowing out to Center field in this very hitter friendly park. Sunday’s game Brad Bergeson (1-0 2.57) making his first start for the Tides after being sent down by the Orioles to get back “in the groove” got his grove back dominating the Knights in seven innings scattering 7 hits and allowing 2 runs with a 4 strikeouts and gave up a solo home run to Robert Hudson in the 5th inning. Alfredo Simon made his first relief appearance after going 1 and 1 and a 1.59 ERA in three starts. Simon pitched a one two three eighth inning and was followed by Ross Wolf (0-1 2.38) in the ninth who also put the Knights down in order with 2 strikeouts. Knight’s starter Jeffrey Marquez (1-3 6.00) got the loss giving up 4 runs on 6 hits including 2 home runs, one to Jeff Salazar his 4th of the year and one to Robert Andino in five innings work. Clevelan Santeliz gave up a run on two hits including a home run to Josh Bell and Ryan Braun gave up a run on one hit.
The Tides hitters were once again very efficient producing seven runs on eight hits with no errors and once again hammering Charlotte pitching with the deep ball with Jeff Salazr, Robert Andino and Josh Bell all hitting dingers from the Tides with Blake Davis adding a double. The Knights scored 2 runs on seven hits and an error. The error came in the 9th inning on a ground ball off the bat of Robert Andino to C.J. Retherford which scored Blake Davis.
So far in this three game series the Tides have produced 8 home runs which is the largest number of homers in a three game period than I can remember in recent times. The Tides pitching staff has been superb with the three starters, Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta and Brad Bergeson pitching 22 innings and only giving up 5 runs on 14 hits. The Tides have also played error free ball and not been their own worst enemy.
The Tides and the Knights will conclude this series on Monday with an 11:45 start at Knight’s Stadium. Troy Patton (1-2 6.94) will make the start for the Tides and face Matt Zaleski (2-0 3.50) before travelling to Gwinnett County in suburban Atlanta to face the Braves in a four game set beginning Tuesday.
During the series the Tides had Rhyne Hughes move up to Baltimore on Saturday and saw Justin Turner return to the team from his sojourn in the show to make room for the bat of Hughes. In Hughes’ first two games with the O’s playing in Fenway against the Red Sox Hughes went 4 for 9 including a double with 2 RBIs. Hughes was one of the best acquisitions made by the Orioles during the latter part of the 2009 season coming from the Durham Bulls in the Tampa Bay system. (See the video of Hughes’ RBI single on Sunday here http://baltimore.orioles.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=7658009
The Orioles broke a five game losing streak against the Red Sox defeating the Bosox in extra innings 7-6. This was the first win in ten games for the O’s against the Red Sox. Although the O’s dropped 2 of 3 to the Sox their bats caught fire for the first sustained time in the 2010 campaign scoring 16 runs on 40 hits against Red Sox pitching in the 3 games and were competitive in the series. The O’s return to Camden Yards where they have yet to win a game this year to face the Yankees on Tuesday getting a day off tomorrow.