The Norfolk Tides are beginning to play team that I predicted at the beginning of the season. The hitting after some very dismal performances of latest has began to come around in the past two games where after a dismal 9 game stretch where they only scored 21 games with only two home runs have scored have scored 13 runs in the past two games and hit four home runs. Likewise Chris Tillman and Jake Arietta (4-2 1.93) simply dominated the Pawsox hitters pitching a combined 14 innings allowing no runs and 7 hits. Arietta who had struggled with control his last couple of outings struck out 10 Pawsox hitters and walked only two allowing only four hits. The one-two punch of Tillman and Arietta is beginning to mature and these two young pitchers have a great chance to do some great things when they eventually enter the Orioles’ starting rotation.
On Thursday night in even more ideal conditions than Wednesday the teams met for the third time. The temperature at game time was 80 degrees with winds 8 miles an hour blowing from right to left. There were two stories on Thursday night the biggest being the domination of the Pawsox by Jake Arietta. However Jake would not have won had Tides hitters not fulfilled their part of the bargain which they did tonight. It was the bottom of the 3rd inning when Michel Hernandez doubled to lead off the inning. Joey Gathright bunted to advance Hernandez to third with one out. Jeff Salazar then grounded out to second allowing Hernandez to score. With two outs and no one on base Robert Andino on a one ball two strike count hit a deep drive to left field which bounced off the wall and the throw from left was so good that Andino appeared to have been held to a long single. However the umpires had a brief conference at the behest of Gary Allenson and ruled that the ball had bounced on or above the white line at the top of the wall for a home run. The inning ended with a 2-0 Tides lead.
The Pawsox then made things interesting in the top of the 4th with a walk, single and a throwing error to load the bases with two outs but Arietta got Tug Hulett to ground out softly to Scott Moore at second base to end the inning and the threat. The Tides came out in the 5th inning with bats blazing. Michel Hernandez singled sharply to center and was followed by Joey Gathright who ran out a bunt to second. Jeff Salazar came up and beat out a ground ball to second to load the bases with no outs. Robert Andino struck out and was followed by Scott Moore who singled sharply to right scoring both Hernandez and Gathright. Josh Bell grounded out to move Salazar to third and Moore to second. Brandon Snyder came to the plate and on a 3 and 1 count smashed a double to the right center gap which reached the wall driving in all three Tides base runners to give the Tides a seven to nothing lead.
Arietta continued to dominate and struck out the side in the 7th on 11 pitches. In the bottom of the 7th inning the Tides scored again as Robert Andino singled to lead off the inning and Scott Moore doubled to right to score Andino. Ross Wolf came into the game in the 8th and pitched a scoreless inning despite surrendering a walk to Aaron Bates. In the 9th Kam Mickolio came into the game and was tagged by Lars Anderson for a home run to right to lead off the inning. He then stuck out Tug Hulett but gave up consecutive singles to Bubba Bell and Ryan Khoury. Pitching Coach Mike Griffin then went to the mound to chat with the big right hander who was throwing in the mid to high 90s. Mickolio responded by striking out Josh Reddick and then getting Niuman Romero to pop up softly to Robert Andino to end the game.
The Tides had 8 runs on 11 hits with one error and left 4 men on base. The Red Sox had 1 run on 7 hits and no errors while stranding 10 runners. Jake Arietta got the win allowing no runs on 4 hits striking out 10 and walking just two in 7 innings work. Pawsox started Fabio Castro got the loss going 4 and two thirds innings giving up 6 runs on 8 hits striking out 3 and walking one batter.
Thursday was a boon for Tides hitters especially Scott Moore and Brandon Snyder who each drove in three runs. Andino had the one home run for the Tides while Hernandez, Snyder and Moore each had two-baggers. 4205 fans saw the game which lasted two hours and forty-four minutes.
The teams will play the final game of this series tonight at Harbor Park with Adam Mills (1-3 4.25) pitching for Pawtucket and Chris George (1-1 4.50) coming off the 7 day FL taking the hill for the Tides.
See you there.