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Tides Win in 10: Defeat Bulls 7-6

Scott Moore went 3 for 5 with a grand slam home run and 5 RBIs

The Durham Bulls have been the nemesis of the International League for the last 3 years. The reigning IL Champions and AAA World’s Series winner from 2009 are poised to repeat again as they head into the post season as IL South Champions, a crown that they have worn since 2006.  This year the Bulls have pretty much owned the Tides going 14 and 5 against Norfolk going into today although 7 of those losses were by two runs or less.

Zach Britton struck out 9 Bulls but had a no decision

The Tides started Zach Britton against Durham starter Ramon Ortiz.  The Tides offense jumped Ortiz in the 1st inning. Ortiz walked Paco Figueroa with one out and then gave up a single to Jeff Salazar.  He then committed an error missing a catch at first to allow Michael Aubrey aboard and load the bases.  Scott Moore then took a 2 and 0 pitch over the over the right field wall for a grand-slam home run to give the Tides a 4-0 lead.  Rhyne Hughes came to the plate and singled before Ortiz was pulled in favor of Dale Thayer having given up 4 runs on 3 hits registering only 1 out. Thayer got Buck Britton to ground into a double play to end the inning.  The Bulls took two of those runs back in the bottom of the 1st inning when J.J. Furmaniak singled to lead off the inning.  Britton struck out Omar Luna before giving up a single to Elliott Johnson to put runners at first and second with 1 out. Britton then tossed a wild pitch to move the runners to second and third. Chris Richard singled to drive in both runners before Britton retired Joe Dillon and Leslie Anderson on strikes.

In the bottom of the 2nd inning Britton hurt himself in allowing a third run. He gave up a leadoff single to Nevin Ashley and stuck out Bobby Livingston. He then got Fernando Perez to ground out sending Ashley to 2nd.  With Omar Luna batting catcher Adam Donachie then allowed a passed ball to get Ashley to third before making a wild pitch to score Ashley. He then stuck out Luna to retire the side with the score 4-3. The Tides scored a run in the top of the 3rd inning as with 1 out Jeff Salazar walked and stole second. Michael Aubrey flied out bringing up Scott Moore who doubled to drive in Salazar to make the score 5-3 but Moore was thrown out going for third to end the inning.

The score would remain 5-3 until the top of the 8th inning.  Britton left the game after 6 innings having given up 3 runs, 2 of which were earned on 4 hits striking out 9 bulls while walking two. Pat Egan relieved Britton in the 7th sending the Bulls down in order. In the top of the 8th the Tides scored again when with one out Paco Figueroa singled and advanced to second on a passed ball.  Jeff Salazar singled to send Figueroa to 3rd and with runners on first and third Michael Aubrey hit a sacrifice fly to score Figueroa and the lead was 6-3.

At this point the Tides bullpen got into trouble.  J.J. Furmaniak singled to lead off the inning and Egan then retired Oamr Luna on a fly ball to right and Elliott Johnson on a ground ball which advanced Furmaniak to second.  Alberto Castillo relieved Egan and unlike his appearance against Charlotte on Friday night was beaten about by the Bulls. Chris Richard took Castillo’s first pitch over the right field wall to make the score 6-5.  Castillo then gave up consecutive singles to Joe Dillon and Leslie Anderson before he was pulled for Frank Mata. Mata got Ashby to ground into a force at second to end the inning.

Frank Mata got the win in relief for the Tides

Winston Abreu came into the game in the 9th giving up a 1 out walk to Adam Donachie before getting Miguel Abreu to ground into a double play to end the inning. Mata came back out in the bottom of the 9th to attempt the save. Kyle Holloway came into the game as a pinch hitter for Bobby Livingston who hammered Mata’s first pitch into left for a leadoff double. Fernando Perez bunted to sacrifice Holloway to third for the first out.  J.J. Furmaniak singled to score Holloway before Mata retired the side sending the game into extra innings knotted at six.

Abreu remained in the game for the Bulls and issued a leadoff walk to Blake Davis. Davis advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Paco Figueroa and to third on a ground out by Jeff Salazar. Now with two outs and Davis on third Michael Aubrey came to the plate. Abreu tossed a wild pitch to score Davis before giving up a single to Aubrey before retiring Scott Moore on a comebacker. The Bulls came to bat in the bottom of the 10th against Mata who walked Chris Richard but then sent down Joe Dillon, Leslie Anderson and Nevin Ashley in order to end the game with the Tides winning 7-6.

Frank Mata (5-3 3.16 ERA) got the win in relief for the Tides while Winston Abreu (0-4 2.28 ERA) got the loss for the Bulls. The Tides had 7 runs on 10 hits with no errors leaving just 4 runners on base. The Bulls had 6 runs on 10 hits with an error leaving 7 runners stranded.  The teams will play this evening with the Tides starting Armando Gabino (7-0 2.29 ERA) on the hill against Brian Baker (9-5 3.56 ERA). Chris Tillman was called up by the Orioles to start against the Rays where he left the game with 5.2 innings pitched giving up 3 runs and ending up with a no decision in his first appearance in front of Buck Showalter in a game that is still underway as this post is published.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Pitcher’s Duel Baker Versus Tillman: Tides Lose 1-0

Chris Tillman pitched a 2 hitter through 7 innings striking out 8 but had a no decision in the Tides loss Saturday night

The Norfolk Tides and Durham Bulls played one of the most tension filled games at Harbor Park this season. Fans were treated to the best pitcher’s duel that has been seen here all season as Chris Tillman pitched a tremendous game against Brian Baker of the Bulls who put on a show in his own right.

Justin Ruggiano doubles to drive in the only run of the game

Tillman pitched 7 innings allowing no runs and just 2 hits striking out 8 and walking two Bulls.  Baker allowed no runs and only one hit while striking out 4 and walking 4 Tides.  The only run of the game came in the top of the 8th inning when Kam Mickolio in to relieve Tillman struck out struck out Fernando Perez and then gave up a single to Desmond Jennings.  He then struck out Elliott Johnson and with two outs with Justin Ruggiano batting Jennings stole second base.  Ruggiano then hit a ground rule double which bounced over the right field fence to drive in Jennings.  Mickolio then retired Chris Richard to end the inning.  The Tides managed nothing in the 8th and Mickolio very efficiently put the Bulls down in order in the 9th.

Michael Aubrey’s 2 out Double in the bottom of the 9th nearly cleared the right field fence

The Tides attempted a comeback in the bottom of the 9th. With2 outs and no one on base Michael Aubrey came up as a pinch hitter and drove a ball deep into right field which looked like it would be a home run. It was not striking about a foot from the top of the fence and Aubrey was in with a double. The rally came to an end though one batter later when Winston Abreu stuck out Brandon Snyder to end the game.

The Bulls had 1 run on 4 hits with no errors and the Tides no runs on 2 hits with one error.  Brian Baker (8-4 3.34 ERA) got the win while Kam Mickolio (3-3 6.67 ERA) got the loss. Winston Abreu picked up his 20th save and second in two days.  The teams meet tonight with Tim Bascom (2-7 8.01 ERA) on the hill for the Tides and Bobby Livingston (0-0 13.50 ERA) up for the Bulls. Earlier in the season Livingston had pitched for Buffalo where he was 3-8 with a 5.34 ERA.

Up in Baltimore yesterday the Orioles defeated the Rangers 8-6 hitting 4 home runs against Cliff Lee, the most that Lee has given up in a game. Two of those came from former Tide Josh Bell who drove in 5 RBIs. Bell was hitting in the 9th spot and it was the first time since 1920 that an Oriole hitter in that spot had hit two home runs in a game.

The game begins at 6:15 this evening and rain could be a factor.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Durham Clinches IL South for 5th Straight Year: Tides Lose 8-6 Thursday & 3-1 Friday

Robert Andino hit his 13th home run in the bottom of the 8th on Thursday in the Tides 8-6 loss to the Bulls

The champagne was flowing in visitor’s clubhouse as the Durham Bulls clinched their 5th straight International League South Division title at Harbor Park. The Bulls who currently are 32 games above 500 have the best record in the League and 14 ½ games up on the second place team the Gwinnett Braves defeated the Norfolk Tides by scores of 8-6 on Thursday and 3-1 on Friday.

Troy Patton had a no-decision in Thursday’s game

The Tides did not make the Bulls final steps to the title easy giving them a run for their money both nights. On Thursday Troy Patton got the start for the Tides pitched well for 4 innings before running into trouble in the 5th inning.  He gave up a run in the 4th and 2 in the 5th before being relieved by Pat Egan with 1 out in the top of the 5th inning.  He left the game with the lead as the Tides has scored 3 runs in the 1st and another in the 2nd to take an early 4-0 lead off Durham starter Darin Downs who was making a spot start for the Bulls.

In the 7th inning the Bulls tied the game.  Egan gave up two singles with one out and was relieved by Frank Mata. Elliott Johnson hit what could have been a double play producing ground ball to Shortstop Robert Andino but Andino misplayed the ball and was slow to get back to the ball.  It was almost as if he forgot that the runner on second was there which allowed that runner, the speedy Desmond Jennings to score the tying run.

In the 8th inning when Mata gave up a leadoff home run to Leslie Anderson and then proceeded to load the bases before walking J.J. Furmaniak to score Angel Chavez.  He was relieved by Cla Meredith who got the second out before Justin Ruggiano hit a grounder with eyes that got through to left for a single to score Omar Luna and Desmond Jennings. He then retired Rocco Baldelli to end the inning with the Bulls now leading 8-4.

The Tides scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning on a two run home run by Robert Andino, his 13th of the year.  Nolan Reimold doubled but was left stranded at second when Scott Moore flied out to right.  Meredith held the Bulls in the 9th inning but the Tides went down in order in the bottom half of the inning thanks to a game ending double play.

The Bulls had 8 runs on 14 hits and committed 2 errors stranding 10 runners and the Tides 6 runs on 14 hits and one costly error by Andino.  The Tides left 11 men on base.  Dale Thayer (3-1 3.40 ERA) the Bulls’ third pitcher of the night got the win and Frank Mata (3-3 4.02 ERA) got a blown save and the loss for the Tides while Winston Abreu got his 19th save of the year.

Desmond Jennings is hit by a pitch from Zach Britton in the 5th inning

On Friday it was a pitchers’ duel as Zach Britton faced off against Ramon Ortiz.  Britton gave up a run in the 1st inning on a single to Chris Richard and a double to Rocco Baldelli and that would be the last run that the Bulls scored until the 7th as Zach allowed just one more hit during the evening. The Tides scored a run in the bottom of the 3rd loading the bases on a walk to Adam Donachie, an infield hit by Paco Figueroa and a walk to Matt Angle. Unfortunately the three of the Tides most productive RBI men, Robert Andino, Jeff Salazar and Nolan Reimold were retired and the Tides scored the one run when Donachie scored on a ground out by Salazar.

Zach Britton gave up only 3 hits but got the loss on Friday

Neither side mustered anything until the 7th inning. Britton retired the first batter that he faced, Dioner Navarro on a ground ball to second. He then walked J.J. Furmaniak and Angel Chavez and was relieved by Jim Hoey. Hoey who has been very good for the Tides since coming up from double-A Bowie appeared to have things under control. However, with the runners now on 2nd and 3rd he issued a wild pitch with Desmond Jennings at the plate.  This allowed Furmaniak to score before Hoey struck out Jennings to end the inning.  In the bottom half of the 8th Nolan Reimold singled and Brandon Snyder walked by Joe Bateman struck out Scott Moore and Lou Montanez to end the threat. In the 9th the Tides brought out closer Dennis Sarfate who gave up an uncharacteristic home run to leadoff hitter Rocco Baldelli before retiring the rest of the Bulls in order. In the 9th it looked like the Tides might come back. With 1 out Paco Figueroa singled and Matt Angle hit a sinking fly ball which looked to be a sure hit possibly one that could get by left fielder Justin Ruggiano but the ball hung up just long enough for Ruggiano to make the play charging in hard from left and throwing to first to double up Figueroa who like most everyone in attendance thought the ball was in for a hit.

The Bulls had 3 runs on 4 hits and an error and the Tides 1 run on 7 hits with no errors. Jake McGee (1-0 0.00 ERA) got the win for the Bulls and Britton (2-3 3.08 ERA) the loss for the Tides.  It was a hard loss as the Tides Britton pitched very well and even the Tides relievers with the exception of the wild pitch by Hoey and the home run allowed by Sarfate pitched well.  The Bulls clinched their 5th straight IL South Title with a record of 79 wins and 47 losses, not only best in the division and best in the League but the best in between the IL and the Pacific Coast League.  They have a .285 team batting average, second best in the IL and the best team ERA (3.45) in the league.  The Tampa Bay Rays, the parent club of the Bulls has one of the premier organizations in baseball. They draft well, develop players well and produce at competitive teams and they build their winning teams without spending huge amounts of money, developing primarily from their own ranks.

Tonight the Tides send Chris Tillman (10-7 3.51 ERA) up against Brian Baker (7-4 3.61 ERA) in game three of this elongated 5 game series.  In personnel news veteran pitcher Andy Mitchell was reactivated by the Tides.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Tides Dumped 7-2 by Bulls but Patterson and Simon Shine for O’s in Comeback Win against Rangers

Jim Miller continued to show composure under pressure in sending down the heart of the Bulls order in the 6th inning

The Norfolk Tides lost their second straight to division leading Durham who are by the way the best team in the International League as well as the division leader.  The Bulls defeated the Tides by a score of 7-2 on a hot and humid Friday night in Durham.  The Tides were held scoreless by Bulls starter Virgil Vasquez (4-0 3.55 ERA) and middle reliever Dale Thayer for 8 innings.  During those first 8 innings the Tides had 8 hits and loaded the bases in the 7th inning but failed to score.

Chris Tillman was recalled to the Orioles and will start against the Rangers tonight

While Bulls pitchers closed down the Tides offense the Bulls worked over Tides starter Tim Bascom (2-3 5.87 ERA) who gave up 5 runs, 4 of which were earned on 7 hits in 4.1 innings work.  Jim Miller came on in middle relief and got the Tides out of the 5th inning and then got in early trouble in the 6th but after giving up a run and having 2 men on base struck out Tides killers Elliott Johnson and Justin Ruggiano finishing the inning by getting Dan Johnson to fly out.  It was a case of Miller keeping his composure against the Durham offense which leads the league in hitting despite getting in trouble. Though he gave up a run the performance shows that Miller is on his way to becoming an excellent all round relief pitcher that can pitch in any situation.  Pat Egan also gave up a run while Armando Gabino closed out the Bulls in the 8th when they were threatening again.

With the score 7-0 in the top of the 9th it appeared that the Tides were on their way to being shut out and sent home, but they did not quit and got a rally of sorts going as Paco Figueroa and Blake Davis had back to back home runs off of Bulls reliever Darin Downs and had a runner on base before Robert Andino grounded out to end the game.

The game was not the best for the Tides in fact the failure to score early and Bascom’s lack of success being clearly overmatched by the Bulls’ offense ensured that they would not win this game. On the positive side the performance of Jim Miller who despite getting in trouble in the top of the 6th was able to keep his composure and mow down the heart of the Bulls order was a positive take away as were the two home runs by Figueroa and Davis in the 9th inning.

Alfredo Simon notched his 12th save following Corey Patterson’s Grand Slam in the 9th and Jake Fox’s solo shot in the 10th in the O’s comeback win against the Rangers on Friday Night

Tonight the teams meet again this time in the friendly confines of Harbor Park with Brian Baker (7-0 2.50 ERA) taking the hill for the Bulls against a yet unannounced Tides starter. Chris Tillman who was the scheduled starter was recalled by the Orioles and it would be my guess that either Chris George or Andy Mitchell could be brought back to the team or that Armando Gabino could reprise his starting role where he had success the last time that Tillman was called up by the O’s.

Speaking of the Orioles for the second night in a row they had a 9th inning comeback and stunned the powerful Texas Rangers.  Last night behind by a score of 6-2 the Orioles loaded the bases and with two outs former Tides outfielder Corey Patterson went yard against one of the best closers in the league, All-Star rookie closer Neftali Feliz for a grand slam home run which tied the game. In the 10th Jake Fox newly acquired from the Athletics in a deal which sent Tides reliever Ross Wolf to the A’s homered to give the Tides the lead and former Tides starter and now Orioles closer Alfredo Simon came in to send the Rangers down in order for his 12th save of the year. Jason Berken (2-0 2.01 ERA) got the win for the O’s. Chris Tillman will start for the O’s tonight in Arlington and we hope that he will get his first Major League win of the year against the Rangers after pitching so well for the Tides.  The Orioles are evaluating catcher Matt Wieters and outfielder Felix Pie after both incurred injuries in the game. If one or both end up on the DL Josh Bell will likely remain in Baltimore instead of returning to Norfolk and conceivably outfielder Jeff Salazar could be called up to fill in for Pie.

With the Tides back in town yours truly will be at the Church of Baseball, Harbor Park Parish to be there to record the action and enjoy the game.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides Win in Durham 6-4

Alfredo Simon (shown at Harbor Park) got his first win for the Tides

The Norfolk Tides began their first road trip of the year in Durham tonight defeat the Bulls 6-4 as I listened to the game on ESPN Radio 94.1 while doing my taxes.  I love listening to a well called game on the radio as I can imagine what is going on and find it more enjoyable than watching on television.  When I was a young I was always mesmerized by the legendary Dodger’s announcer Vin Scully even though his is in the employ of Satan’s Major League franchise. What can I say I’m a Giants fan? Stone me with heavy stones.  Anyway I digress.

Tonight I listened to Tides announcer Bob Socci call the game against the Bulls as on Jackie Robinson Day I waited as is my custom to e-file my Federal Taxes 2 hours before the midnight deadline. The Tides jumped off to an early first inning lead when Bulls starter Jeff Bennett surrendered walks to Joey Gathright and Jeff Salazar on 8 consecutive pitches and was removed from the game with an injury. Brian Baker came in to relieve Bennett and gave up a double to Lou Montanez which scored Gathright and advanced Salazar to third.  Scott Moore singled to Center to drive in Salazar and advance Montanez to third.  Bulls Catcher Alvin Colina allowed a passed ball which scored Montanez and the Tides led 3-0.  Baker the retired Brandon Snyder and Josh Bell to pop out but Baker then allowed a double to left by former Bull Rhyne Hughes doubled to drive in scoring Scott Moore before Baker got Robert Andino to pop out to Second Baseman Joe Dillon. In the bottom half of the first Tides starting pitcher Alfredo Simon allowed two hits but stuck out two before getting ground out to Tides Third Baseman Brandon Snyder.

The Tides went down in order to Baker in the second and Alfredo Simon surrendered a single to Angel Chavez before getting Chavez on a force play at second.  The Third inning was equally uneventful as in the top of the third Lou Montanez reached first on a base on balls. Scott Moore then flied out to left and Brandon Snyder hit into a 5-4-3 double play to end the Tides at bat.  Durham picked up a run in the third when Elliott Johnson got a bunt single and advanced to second when Rashad Eldridge grounded out to the pitcher Simon. Justin Ruggiano flied out but John reached third on a wild pitch from Simon.  Hank Blalock then picked up an infield single to second scoring Johnson before Joe Dillon popped out to Brandon Snyder at first to end the inning.

Rhyne Hughes doubled with one out in the fourth but the Tides failed to bring him home as Robert Andino flied to left and Adam Donachie struck out swinging.  Durham picked up a second run when Dan Johnson homered to right.  Simon would get the next three Bulls in order to end the inning.

The Tides threatened in the top of the fifth. Joey Gathright walked; Jeff Salazar struck out swinging which brought about a pitching change for the Bulls. Richard De Los Santos relieved Baker and got Lou Montanez to0 ground out to short but Gathright advanced to second. He would reach third when De Los Santos threw a wild pitch; however Gathright would advance no further as Scott Moore struck out swinging.  The Bulls did nothing in the bottom of the fifth; Simon gave up a walk to Justin Ruggiano but nothing else.  The Tides added to their lead in the top of the sixth.  Brandon Snyder got a leadoff single but it looked like De Los Santos was going to get out of the inning when he got Josh Bell to line out to center and Rhyne Hughes to ground out advancing Snyder to second.  Robert Andino then tripled to drive in Hughes and was driven home on an Adam Donachie single to left.  Joey Gathright singled to third but Donachie allowed himself to get caught between second and third and was tagged out by Shortstop Angel Chavez. Simon put the Bulls down in order in the bottom of the sixth.

The Tides went quietly in the seventh although Scott Moore reached first on a walk allowed by De Los Santos.  Chris George then came into the game for the Tides. The Bulls left two on base in the bottom of the seventh on a Tides error and a base on balls. Both the Tides and the Bulls went down in order in the eighth inning.

The Tides threatened in the top of the ninth. Adam Donachie walked to start the inning and moved to second when Joey Gathright grounded out to catcher Adam Colina.  Jeff Salazar collected a single to right which sent Donachie to third.  Durham then brought Heath Rollins into the game and after Salazar stole second Rollins got Lou Montanez to ground out with Joe Dillon holding Donachie at third.  Scott Moore went down swinging to end the inning ending the Tides threat.  The call was a check swing which third base umpire Manny Gonzalez said that Moore had gone around on. Scott said something to Gonzales most likely questioning Gonzalez’s parentage or something that he does in the privacy of his bedroom and was ejected from the game.

The Bulls made interesting in the bottom of the ninth.  The Tides brought in Frank Mata to close the game and Jonathan Tucker came in for the ejected Moore at second.  Chris Richard led off the inning getting on when Tucker committed a fielding error. Mata then got Angel Chavez to fly out to left and Alvin Colina to ground out to third with Richard advancing to second.  Elliott Johnson singled to right sending Chavez to third and then stole second.  Rashad Eldridge walked to load the bases and Justin Ruggiano singled to drive in Chavez.  With the bases still loaded and the Bulls down by three Tides closer Alberto Castillo relieved Mata.  Hank Blalock singled to left scoring Johnson however with the home crowd cheering Joe Dillon flied out deep to left when Lou Montanez caught the ball at the foot of Durham’s 32 foot “Blue Monster.”

The Tides had 6 runs on 9 hits with 2 errors and the Bulls 4 runs on 9 hits and no errors.  Alfredo Simon got his first win of the 2010 season and Jeff Bennett lost his second.   Alberto Castillo got his second save of the season.  Rhyne Hughes led the attack for the Tides with 2 doubles and an RBI his 7th of the season. The teams will meet tomorrow with Troy Patton scheduled to pitch for the Tides. As of now the Bulls pitcher is not announced.  With the win the Tides improve to 4-4 evening their record.  Tomorrow I am on duty at the medical center so I probably will not get much of a chance to listen to the Tides but do expect to file some report on the game.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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