The Norfolk Tides continue their climb back into competition in the International League South division at the expense of the Pawtucket Red Sox or as they either affectionately or derisively known as the Pawsox. On Friday night there was no blow out like Thursday but instead a nail biting walk off as the Tides defeated the Pawsox for the third straight time in their four game set in from of 6957 fans on a very comfortable night for baseball with temperatures in the 70s and 10 mile an hour win coming in from center.
The Tides started Chris George just coming off the 7 day DL and initially things did not look good for Chris. After getting the first two batters out George gave up three consecutive extra base hits. Jorge Jimenez doubled to right and scored when Aaron Bates tripled to right. Bates was doubled home by Dusty Brown who picked up his 9th double of the season.
Pawtucket kept the lead at 2-0 until the bottom of the third inning when the Tides got their first run. Jeff Salazar doubled and then advanced to third when Adam Mills made a wild pitch. Andino stuck out but Rhyne Hughes hit a sacrifice grounder to score Salazar. In the 4th inning with 2 outs and Nolan Reimold at second base Joey Gathright reach frst on a throwing error by Ryan Khoury. Reimold running with two outs attempted to score but was thrown out at the plate by Jorge Jimenez.
George put down the Pawsox in order in the 4th, 5th and 6th innings to keep the Tides down by only one and in the bottom of the 6th the Tides got their second run. Josh Bell doubled to lead off the 6th and then Nolan Reimold flied out to center. With one out and Bell at second Brandon Snyder doubled to left to score Bell and tie the game.
Armando Gabino came in to relieve George in the top of the 7th and got into a bit of trouble. He hit Dusty Brown with a pitch and then struck out Lars “Why didn’t I make the Norwegian Biathlon team” Anderson before getting behind Tug Hulett 3-0 and then giving up a double to Hulett on a 3-1 count placing Brown on third and Hulett at second with one out. The Tides had Gabino intentionally walk Bubba Bell to load the bases. At this point it looked like the game was in a precarious state and the members of the Red Sox Nation in attendance began to get noisy, rude and obnoxious. I’m sorry having seen fans of about every Major League team either in Major League parks or their minor league farm teams the travelling members of the Red Sox Nation are the most crude, rude and obnoxious that I have ever come across. Now this is not an indictment of every Red Sox fans I know plenty of friends that are perfect gentleman and ladies but as a whole when the Red Sox nation travels they are the worst. Even Elliott the Usher a Red Sox fan himself from Massachusetts says that he and the other ushers agree that they are the most ill-behaved fans in baseball. But I digress….With the bases now loaded Mike Griffin paid a strategy visit to the mount. Gabino worked into a 2-2 count on Ryan Khoury before getting him to pop up to end the inning.
With the obnoxious Red Sox nation fans getting louder and more obnoxious by the moment, especially the one behind me and to my right in row “C” who apparently was trying to ensure that his four year old son learns how to be rude and obnoxious early in life closer Frank Mata came into the game in the 9th inning. Mata got Dusty Brown to pop up to catcher Michel Hernandez in foul territory behind the plate and struck out Lars Anderson. Tug Hulett then singled to right and Bubba Bell walked on 4 pitches. This brought up Ryan Khoury who Mata got to pop out to second baseman Robert Andino to end the Pawsox frame of the 9th inning.
The Tides came to the plate in the bottom of the 9th to face reliever Chad Peranto. At this point I had reached my limit with the Red Sox Nation numbskull behind me and began to shoot back at him. Blake Davis flied out to deep left to begin the inning and Michel Hernandez singled. Hernandez was pulled for a pinch runner in the form of newly called up Paco Figueroa. Joey Gathright popped up for the second out bringing up Jeff Salazar who singled off of Peranto sending Figueroa to second. Now with two on and two out Robert Andino came to the plate. Andino who had a home run in Thursday night’s game hit a laser almost taking Peranto’s head off to center field for a single and Paco Figueroa hustling in from second scored to end the game and silence the Red Sox Nation.
The Tides had 3 runs on 9 hits with no errors and left 9 runners on base. The Pawsox had 2 runs on 6 hits and one error and left 7 men on base. Frank Mata (2-1 S8 1.86) got the win and Chad Peranto (1-2 4.63) got the loss. With the win the Tides move into second place in the International League South 4.5 games back of the Durham Bulls. Tonight the Tides will face the Rochester Red Wings who are the AAA affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. Troy Patton (2-5 5.53) will get the start for the Tides and will face Rochester’s Matt Fox (3-2 3.06).
See you at Harbor Park where it is Military Appreciation night with special discounted tickets $6.50 for a reserved seat to active duty, reserve and retired military members. There will be a pre-game ceremony to honor the armed forces and post game fireworks.
Blessings and Peace