The Norfolk Tides and Charlotte Knights played the last home game at the Church of Baseball, Harbor Park Parish of the 2010 season on Friday night. The Tides started Troy Patton against Charlotte’s Brandon Hynick with Patton looking for his 8th win of a frustrating season including two mid season call-ups to Baltimore without making an appearance. Patton who had gotten off to a rough start at the beginning of the season continually improved and very easily could have had several more wins had there not been critical errors or leaving the game and having a reliever get roughed up to give him a no-decision. However Friday night was a different matter as Patton pitched a solid game and the defense overcame errors that might have cost the game. He was also backed up by solid relief pitching which secured the win.
The Tides offense provided the needed support once again led by Michael Aubrey who has been hitting home runs at a torrid pace with 16 dingers since the 2nd of July. The Tides opened up a quick lead when with 2 outs in the bottom of the 1st inning Jeff Salazar singled and Aubrey came to the plate and on a no ball and two strike count took Hynick’s pitch yard over the Straub Beer Party deck in right field. The Knights picked up a run in the top of the second when Patton walked Luis Rodriguez and then had Jeremy Reed double to put runners on second and third with one out. The Knights then scored when Blake Davis muffed a ground ball hit by Fernando Cortez to allow Rodriguez to score. The Tides got that run back in the bottom of the 3rd inning when Blake Davis and Paco Figueroa had back to back singles. They attempted a double steal in which Figueroa was gunned down by catcher Adam Ricks and Davis went to third. Jeff Salazar then singled to drive in Davis and the score was 3-1.
The Knights drew within a run in the top of the 6th inning when Patton walked Luis Rodriguez and then got Jeremy Reed to fly out to right. With one out Fernando Cortez hit a ground ball to just reactivated from the DL Scott Moore who rushed his throw and tossed it past First Baseman Michael Aubrey allowing Rodriguez to reach third and Cortez to make second with just one out. Robert Hudson hit into a fielder’s choice to score Rodriguez before Patton retired Adam Ricks on a ground ball to first. Patton put down the first two batters of the 7th inning Bobby Dickerson pulled Troy for Kam Mickolio who struck out Dayan Viciedo swinging on three pitches to end the inning.
Charlotte sent Miguel Socolovich to relieve Hyndick in the 7th and the Tides scored again in that inning when with one out Paco Figueroa and Jeff Salazar singled to place runners at first and third. Socolovich then threw a wild pitch which scored Figueroa and sent Salazar to third giving the Tides a 4-2 lead. Socolovich wisely gave Michael Aubrey an intentional pass and then walked Rhyne Hughes to load the bases. Scott Moore hit into a force in which Salazar was out at the plate. Buck Britton then flied out to end the inning.
Kam Mickolio came back out in the top of the 8th giving up a single to Stefan Gartrell and a walk to Luis Rodriguez before Bobby Dickerson sent in Alberto Castillo to relieve Mickolio. Castillo was very effective getting Jeremy Reed to pop out to Scott Moore and then Fernando Cortez to fly out softly to left fielder Miguel Abreu. Castillo then struck out Robert Hudson to end the inning. Brandon Hynick (1-4 6.22 ERA) took the loss for the Knights. T
The Tides went down in order in the top of the 9th facing Jhonny Nunez. The Tides sent in Dennis Sarfate who got Adam Ricks to ground out for the first out and then surrendered a double to Buck Coats. Jordan Danks walked and then with one out got Dayan Viciedo to ground out into a double play to end the inning and the game. The Tides left the field to a standing ovation from the 8500 or so Church of Baseball Harbor Park Parish faithful who were treated to a fireworks display at the end of the game.
Troy Patton (8-11 4.43 ERA) got the win in his final start of the year for the Tides and Dennis Sarfate notched his 20th save lowering his ERA to 2.62. Brandon Hynick (1-4 6.22 ERA) took the loss. The Knights had 2 runs on 7 hits with no errors leaving 10 men on base. The Tides had 4 runs on 11 hits but 3 errors leaving 9 base runners stranded.
The Tides travel to Durham to end their 2010 season against the Bulls. In late breaking news Chris Tillman was recalled to the Orioles where he will start Sunday’s game against the Tamp Bay Rays at Oriole Park.
With no more home games for the Tides and only three road games my attention will begin to focus to the Major League pennant races as well as some other ideas that I have percolating for some time. I will write about the three final games in Durham as well as have a number of articles analyzing the Tides season, the roster and what I think the prospects are for each Tides player in 2011. I will as I did last year post a photo essay or two about the season at Harbor Park.
Peace and blessings