The Norfolk Tides returned to Harbor Park on Friday night to face their International League South rival the Charlotte Knights. It was a tale of two cities on Friday and Saturday as the Tides lost an error filled game in which they were held to just four hits. However on Saturday Zach Britton pitched 8 innings allowing 5 hits and a run as the Tides pounded out 6 runs on 13 hits including 3 home runs, two by Michael Aubrey who now leaders the team with 17.
On Friday Troy Patton returned to the mound for the first time in nearly two weeks following successive call ups to Baltimore in which he did not pitch and the layoff showed as he struggled at times over the course of a 4 inning performance. He was not helped in the second inning when he gave up 4 runs only two of which were earned as Jeff Salazar dropped a fly ball that should have been the 3rd out allowing two additional runs to score. Troy would exit the game after the 4th inning striking out 5 Knights batters in 4 innings work.
The Tides actually got an early lead as in the 1st inning Michael Aubrey had an RBI double to score Jeff Salazar who had walked to lead off the inning. The Knights scored their 4 runs in the top of the 2nd with 3 consecutive hits that scored two runs followed by the error which allowed the others to score. In the bottom half of the inning Brandon Snyder led off with a double and scored on a ground out by Paco Figueroa. The Tides pulled within a run in the bottom of the 4th inning as Knights starting pitcher Carlos Torres walked Brandon Snyder and Scott Moore and then hit Adam Donachie with a pitch before Paco Figueroa grounded in to a force play on which Snyder scored.
Jim Miller came into the game for the Tides got into trouble in the 5th inning giving up two singles and a walk to load the bases before a double play on a ground ball allowed Jeremy Reed to score. Miller looked to have things under control with two outs and a runner on third and threw a wild pitch in the dirt which allowed Brent Morel to score. Pat Egan came in for the 7th and 8th innings and in the 8th gave up an insurance run to the Knights on doubles by Fernando Cortez and Alejandro De Aza. Cla Meredith pitched the 9th inning but the Tides could not muster any more offense and the game ended with the final score 7 to 6 in favor of the Knights. Patton (7-10 4.79 ERA) got the loss and Carlos Torres (9-7 3.31 ERA) gained the win. The Knights had 7 runs on 10 hits and no errors leaving 10 men on base, the Tides 3 runs on 4 hits with 4 errors with 8 men left on base.
On the 13th the Orioles activated Lou Montanez from the DL and assigned him to Norfolk where he would have an impact on Saturday night.
On Saturday the Tides sent Zach Britton to the hill to face the Knights and pitcher Brandon Hynick in a game that differed much from Friday night. Britton pitched an outstanding game pitching 8 innings giving up a run on 5 hits striking out 9 Knights and walking 3. He looked like he was in trouble in the 4th inning he loaded the bases with 1 out but pitched out of trouble when Jeremy Reed grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, Figueroa to Andino who made a tremendous play at 2nd and on to Aubrey to end the inning. Tyler Flowers walked to lead off the 5th inning and scored on a single by Fernando Cortez producing the only run of the night for the Knights.
The Tides offense was productive producing 13 hits to score their 6 runs. Michael Aubrey crushed a pitch in the 2nd inning from Hynick for a home run putting the Tides on the board with an early lead of 1-0. Matt Angle led off the 6th inning with his first home run of the year and with 2 outs Nolan Reimold walked and was followed by Scott Moore who singled. Reimold then scored on a Lou Montanez single one of three hits on the day for Lou. The Tides scored 3 more runs off of reliever Jon Adkins in the bottom of the 7th inning. Michael Aubrey led off the inning with his 17th home run and was followed by consecutive singles from Nolan Reimold, Scott Moore and Lou Montanez to load the bases. Brandon Snyder took a pitch from Adkins to the right field wall where it was caught by Jordan Danks which scored Reimold. Michel Hernandez then took a pitch to the warning track in right but the sacrifice enabled Moore to score to give the Tides a 6-1 lead. Jim Hoey came on in the 9th in a non-save situation and dominated the Charlotte batters striking out Dayan Viciedo on a 98 mile per hour fastball, getting Stafan Gartrell to pop up to second baseman Paco Figueroa and stinking out Jeremy Reed swinging to end the game.
Hynick (1-3 6.81 ERA) was charged with the loss while Zach Britton (2-2 3.12 ERA) notched the win. The Knights had 1 run on 5 hits with no errors leaving 4 men on base while the Tides put up 6 runs on 13 hits with no errors leaving 12 men on base.
Sunday the Tides will send Chris Tillman (9-7 3.45 ERA) against Lucas Harrell (10-9 4.43 ERA). Game time is 6:15 at Harbor Park.
See you there,