The Norfolk Tides bats remained on fire even as the temperature cooled into the mid 70s in Hampton Roads and today both the defense and the pitching showed up. After losing five straight to include three high scoring games where the Tides offense produced enough runs to win each handily had pitching, defense or calls by umpires gone their way. But this Monday was another day and Troy Patton had the answer on to how to shut down the potent offense of the Buffalo Bisons and I do hope that he starts telling other pitchers just how to do this as he went seven innings giving up just three hits with only one walk and three strikeouts to gain the victory. Patton was aided by Ross Wolf and Mike Hinckley who pitched the 8th and 9th innings without surrendering a hit.
After watching many games where the hitting showed up and the pitching did not, or the pitching showed up only to have the offense go into a coma or the defense to fail it was good to see a game where the fundamentals of the ball game, pitching, hitting and defense came together as the Tides shut down the Bisons 6-0.
Patton surrendered only 3 hits, a double in the second inning and two singles while walking only one in a dominant performance against the hottest hitting team in the International League. The Tides offense continued its strong performance since the arrival of interim manager Bobby Dickerson. The Tides opened up on the Bisons in the bottom of the 3rd inning when catcher Adam Donachie led off the inning with a double and scored on a single by Matt Angle. Robert Andino tripled to drive in Angle and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jeff Salazar. They added two more in the bottom of the 6th inning when Jeff Salazar hit his 9th dinger of the season and Rhyne Hughes launched his 4th of the season both of which were solo shots to make the score 5-0. The Tides added a final run in the bottom of the 8th when Josh Bell doubled and advanced to third when Rhyne Hughes singled and scored on reliever Michael O’Connor’s wild pitch, the second time that “Wild Thing” O’Connor allowed a run to score at Harbor Park during this home stand but at least he did not bounce it over the screen behind home plate this time….he’s improving.
The game ended with the Tides winning by a score of 6-0. The Bisons had no runs on 3 hits and one error and left 5 men on base. The Tides 6 runs on 10 hits and no errors leaving four men aboard. Bobby Livingston (2-6 4.43 ERA) got the loss for the Bisons and Troy Patton (4-7 5.13 ERA) got the win for the Tides. Troy had his excellent performance backed up with great run support as well as solid defense to get the well deserved win.
During the series the Tides scored 27 runs on 57 hits including 6 home runs by far their most productive series of the year and a series where for the first time this season they showed consistency on offense over a sustained period and not just a game or two. Since little has changed in the aspect of Tides offensive personnel with the exception of the addition of Matt Angle and Paco Figueroa but now for the first time that I can remember this season the Tides hitters are hitting with power as well as making contact. Though it does not seem like much the Tides team batting average has improved from .234 on May 18th to .243 today in fact going up more in the past 4 days than the previous two weeks. While it is still early the only explanation that I can see for this turnaround is Interim Manager Bobby Dickerson.
The Tides open a series against the Gwinnett Braves at Harbor Park on Tuesday at 7:15 and we will see of the Tides can continue this merry offensive romp. See you at Harbor Park.