On a very warm evening the Norfolk Tides looked like they would get a big comeback win. On their first night with Interim Manager Bobby Dickerson at the helm the Tides opened their four game series against the Buffalo Bisons at Harbor Park where a crowd of 6345 gathered to celebrate “Marine Night.”
The Tides managed to rebound from a 6-0 Buffalo lead only to lose in the 9th inning when Michael Hinckley just promoted to Norfolk from AA Bowie loaded the bases with no outs to give up 4 runs in the top of the 9th inning.
Tides starter Armando Gabino had his worst outing of the season giving up 6 runs on 6 hits, though 2 of the runs were unearned due to a fielding error by Second Baseman Blake Davis in the 3rd inning which opened the floodgates. Gabino got into trouble again in the 4th and was relieved by Jim Miller. Miller would settle things down and pitch three innings before yielding to Ross Wolf in the 7th. Wolf too held the Bisons in check as the Tides offense went to work.
Brandon Snyder ignited the Tides in the 5th inning when with one out he hit a line drive over the right field wall into the Tides bullpen. That hit by Snyder rocked Harbor Park. The fans that had been silenced by the Bisons were back in the game and the effect was electric. Blake Davis then singled and Michel Hernandez walked. With 2 on and 1 out Matt Angle singled to drive in Davis to cut the lead to 6-2. In the 5th inning the Tides scored another run when Josh Bell reached second on a throwing error on an infield ground ball. Nolan Reimold who seems to be improving after a dismal season in Baltimore followed by a worse start in Norfolk singled to drive in Bell making it a 6-3 game.
The Tides tied the game in the bottom of the 7th when with 1 out Michel Hernandez singled and advanced to second on a single by Matt Angle. Hernandez scored when Robert Andino singled and Matt Angle advanced to second base. Jeff Salazar singled to drive in Angle and move Andino to third base and would score on a sacrifice fly to center to tie the game at six.
It appeared at this point that the Tides had all the momentum and had the Bisons on the ropes. In the top of the 9th Michael Hinckley who had just been promoted to Norfolk from Bowie when hard luck Pedro Viola was sent down to Bowie made his first AAA appearance. He gave up a single to former Tides infielder Justin Turner and a double to Mike Jacobs. He then walked all time Minor League Baseball Home run king Mike Hessman to load the bases. Now with the bases loaded he walked Russ Adams to give Buffalo the lead. At this point Bobby Dickerson brought in former Oriole Cla Meredith hoping that Meredith’s Major League experience would pay off and shut down the Bisons before more damage could be done. This was not the case as the first batter that Meredith faced Valentino Pascucci doubled down the line in right to clear the bases and give the Bisons a 10-6 lead. Meredith struck out Andy Green but lost it on a wild pitch which put Green on first and Pascucci on third base. J R House grounded out to score Pascucci before Meredith got Jesus Feliciano to ground out to end the frame. The Tides went down quietly in the bottom of the 9th and the game ended with the final score Buffalo 11 and the Tides 6.
Buffalo had 11 runs on 12 hits with 1 error and 8 men left on base, the Tides 6 runs on 12 hits and 2 errors with 6 runners left on base. Bisons’ reliever Bobby Parnell (1-1 4.73 ERA) got the “unsave” and the win and Hinckley the loss giving up 4 runs without retiring a batter.
I did notice a couple of things that I thought were important. First Bobby Dickerson did not wait and wait to make pitching changes; he got pitchers out of the game when they got in serious trouble. Unfortunately in the 9th inning he had misplaced confidence in Cla Meredith. The second thing and this was even more important, the Tides hitters got the team back in the game as relievers Miller and Wolf held the Bisons after they had gotten out to the 6-0 lead. Another note of interest was the continued hitting of Brandon Snyder and the 4 hits of Matt Angle in the lead off position.
The Tides and Bisons play tonight at Harbor Park and it will be a hot one with temperatures in the high 80s at game time. Jake Arietta (6-2 1.77 ERA) will be going for his 7th win of the season against Dylan Owen (1-1 4.76).
See you there.