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Bascom Dominates: Tides Sweep Braves Win 6-2

Tim Bascom picked up his 4th win with another strong start

The Norfolk Tides defeated the Gwinnett Braves on Wednesday Night behind the pitching of Tim Bascom who made his second strong start in a row pitching 6 innings allowing a run on 3 hits. Tides’ relievers Kam Mickolio and Alberto Castillo shut down the Braves from the 7th inning on with Mickolio allowing one run to secure the win for the Tides.

The Tides offense went to work early driving out Braves starter Erik Cordier who was making his Triple-A debut.  The Tides blasted Cordier with 5 runs on 2 hits but 4 walks. He was not helped by an early throwing error which sent Matt Angle to third after stealing second base. Cordier would leave the game with 2 outs in the bottom of the first and the Braves relievers led by Cory Gearrin held the Tides to just one more run.

Michael Aubrey Tripled in the 5th inning

The Tides batted around plus some in the first inning sending 10 batters to the plate. Matt Angle led off taking a walk from Cordier and stole second taking third on a missed catch error by Second Baseman Joe Thurman. Paco Figueroa flied out and the Jeff Salazar walked. Michael Aubrey struck out and it looked like Cordier might get out of the inning.  Rhyne Hughes singled to drive in Davis and send Salazar to third bringing up Catcher Michel Hernandez. Hernandez doubled scoring both Hughes and Salazar and then Cordier walked Buck Britton and Adam Donachie to load the bases.  This brought Miguel Abreu up and the newly promoted outfielder singled to score Hernandez and Britton before Blake Davis flied out to end the inning.  The Tides picked up their 6th run in the bottom of the 5th inning when Michael Aubrey tripled and came home on a sacrifice fly by Rhyne Hughes.

The Braves picked up their first run in the top of the 6th when Britton gave up a double to Tides scourge Barbaro Canizares and an RBI single to Clint Sammons.  Kam Mickolio entered the game in the 7th inning and struck out the side.  Sammons was involved in the Braves second run singling in the top of the 8th and advancing to second when Mickolio walked Luis Bolivar. Orlando Mercado grounded out to score Canizares before Mickolio yielded to Alberto Castillo with two outs in the top of the eighth.

Tim Bascom (4-7 6.86 ERA) got the win and Erik Cordier (0-1 67.50 ERA) took the loss. The Tides had 6 runs on 7 hits and one error leaving 6 men aboard.  The Braves 2 runs on 7 hits and one error stranding 11 base runners.

In what to many Tides followers Lou Montanez was designated for assignment to make room for Robert Andino on the Orioles 40 man roster.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides down Braves 5-2 as Tillman Picks up 11th Win: Orioles Promote Reimold, Andino and Snyder

Tides First Baseman Brandon Snyder was one of Three Tides called up by the Orioles Wednesday. He had a 2 run home run in hte 2nd Inning on Tuesday

The Norfolk Tides returned home to the Church of Baseball, Harbor Park Parish and got back on the winning track defeating the Gwinnett Braves by a score of 5-2.  In a game that featured strong pitching by Tillman and the Tides relievers as well as tremendous defensive play especially by Robert Andino who despite his error filled season is when he wants to be is a superb defensive shortstop.

Back in the Big Leagues: Nolan Reimold triumphed over adversity to get himself back to Baltimore

Tillman set and the defense set the pace early by shutting down the Braves until he was relieved for the pitch count and number of innings thrown as he will likely be recalled to Baltimore.   Of note was a tremendous double play began by Robert Andino on a ball hit softly well to his right which he fielded, made a perfect throw to Second Baseman Paco Figueroa who in turn threw a strike to Brandon Snyder at first base to double up Luis Bolivar and Clint Sammons.

The Tides struck early in the second inning off Braves starter Jose Oretgano.  Ortegano walked Nolan Reimold and then Brandon Snyder hit what appeared to be a routine deep fly ball that just kept going until it landed in the Straub Beer Party Deck to give the Tides a 2-0 lead.  In the 6th inning the Tides stretched the lead. Matt Angle got aboard when Braves Center Fielder Antoan Richardson who dropped a routine fly ball.  Robert Andino then had an infield single to advance Angle to second base.  Ortegano then tried to pick off Angle and threw the ball away, Angle went to third and then Shortstop Joe Thurston rushed the throw to third and threw the ball away allowing Angle to score to give the Tides a 3-0 lead.

Robert Andino proved to be a clutch hitter despite problems in the field

Tillman struck out the first two batters that he faced in the 7th inning and was relieved by Armando Gabino who retired Antoan Richardson to ground out to shortstop Robert Andino for the third out.  The Tides added two insurance runs in the bottom half of the inning. With one out catcher Adam Donachie walked and Paco Figueroa then doubled to score Donachie and advanced to third on the throw home.  Figueroa scored on a sacrifice fly by Jeff Salazar who had come into the game as a defensive substitution for Matt Angle in the top of the 7th inning. In the 8th Gabino ran into a problem walking Wes Timmons with one out and the giving up a 2 run home run to Joe Thurston before pitching out of the inning.

The Tides sent Dennis Sarfate to the hill to close the game and Dennis struck out the side on 11 pitches to get his 19th save of the year.  Chris Tillman (11-7 3.34 ERA) got the win giving up 5 hits in 6.2 innings work striking out three braves.  Jose Ortegano despite on giving up 3 hits in 5.2 innings work got the loss with his record going to 3-10 with a 6.12 ERA.  The Tides had 5 runs on 5 hits with no errors leaving 3 men on base. The Braves had 2 runs on 7 hits leaving 7 men aboard but made three critical errors that helped give the Tides some additional help.

The teams meet tonight at Harbor Park for the final time of this season with Tim Bascom (3-7 7.31 ERA) coming off an excellent start against Charlotte on the road pitching for the Tides against Erik Cordier making his first start at the Triple-A level.

In personnel moves the Orioles called up Robert Andino and recalled both Nolan Reimold and Brandon Snyder in the first of their September call-ups. I expect that Chris Tillman and at least two other pitchers will be called up, my money would be on Armando Gabino and either Dennis Sarfate, Kam Mickolio or Frank Mata.

See you at the game,

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Another Comeback: Tides Scalp Braves 5-4 on 8th Inning Rally

Kam Mickolio picked up his 4th win of the season in relief against the Braves allowing just one hit

The Norfolk Tides won their 4th game in a row on the road their longest road winning streak of the year against the Gwinnett Braves at Cool Ray Field in Lawrenceville Georgia. Early in the game it did not appear that the Tides would come out in the win column as the Braves scored early against Tides starter Chris George who was victimized, as so many other Tides have been by errors by Shortstop Robert Andino.  The Braves scored twice in the second inning on consecutive errors by Andino to give the Braves a 2-0 lead.  The Braves scored again in the 4th inning when Wilkin Ramirez singled and Clint Sammons homered to give the Braves a 4-0 lead.  Chris would give up the 2 earned runs on 8 hits in 5 innings work before coming out in favor of Kam Mickolio in the 6th inning. Mickolio pitched two strong innings of relief giving up 1 hit and no runs.  During the first 6 innings Braves starter Todd Redmond had the Tides number as he has throughout the year giving up no runs on 5 hits a walk while striking out 8 Tides.

Brandon Snyder had his 7th home run of the season 41st RBI

The Tides began their comeback in the top of the 7th against reliever Michael Dunn who had gone 2-0 with a 0.98 ERA in the International League and a win with Atlanta before Saturday and this game would be different.  Brandon Snyder crushed a pitch by Dunn over the left center field wall to put the Tides on the board and cut the Braves lead to 4-1.  Mickolio held the Braves scoreless in the bottom half of the inning and the Tides came back up to the plate in the top of the 8th.  In that inning the Tides struck hard. After Matt Angle was put out on a bunt ground ball Robert Andino singled. Jeff Salazar then walked and Braves Manager Dave Brundage decided that Dunn was done bringing in Stephen Marek who in 45 appearances for the Braves had a 2-1 record with a 1.15 ERA but who gave up 2 runs to the Tides and registered his only loss of the season the last time he faced the Tides on August 17th at Harbor Park.  Marek got Nolan Reimold to pop up on the infield fly rule but then with Lou Montanez batting Andino and Salazar executed a double steal to put them both in scoring position.  Montanez singled to score Andino and Salazar bringing Rhyne Hughes to the plate.  On a 1-1 count Hughes homered to right to give the Tides a 5-4 lead.

Rhyne Hughes hammered his 9th home run of the year in the 8th inning

Frank Mata relieved Mickolio in the bottom of the 8th and put the Braves down in order.  The Tides were silent in the 9th inning and the Tides brought Dennis Sarfate into the game to attempt the save. After getting Wilkin Ramirez to pop out and Clint Sammons to ground out Dennis gave up a two out single to Nate McLouth. He then retired Matt Young on a fly ball to left fielder Jeff Salazar to end the game and give the Tides their 4th win of the road trip. Kam Mickolio (4-3 6.32 ERA) got the win for the Tides and Dennis Sarfate got his 18th save. Stephen Marek (2-2 1.51 ERA) took the loss his second to the Tides in 10 days.  The Tides had 5 runs on 9 hits and Andino’s two errors stranding 5 runners. The Braves had 4 runs on 10 hits with no errors leaving 7 men on base. The teams will meet Sunday afternoon with Troy Patton (7-11 4.67 ERA) taking the hill for the Tides against Braves right-hander Brandon Beachy (2-0 2.67 ERA).

The Orioles transferred Jason Berken from the 15 Day to the 60 Day DL.  In Anaheim the Orioles defeated the Angels 5-0 on a strong performance by Kevin Millwood. Former Tide Josh Bell had his 3rd homer of the year a 2 run shot against Angels’ starter Scott Kazmir.  Jim Johnson made his first relief appearance since coming off the DL shutting down the Angels in the 9th inning to give the O’s a 2-0 series lead and their 5th win in a row over the Angels.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Tides let Victory “Walk Away” from them, Lose 11-9 to Braves

Scott Moore hit his 10th home run his 3rd in 2 days

The Norfolk Tides went down to George to do battle with their long time International League South rival the Gwinnett Braves.  In a game that looked like it would be another of their more recent comeback wins after getting behind early in the game.  After the Tides took an 8-7 lead the relief staff quite literally let victory “walk away” from them in a 7th inning meltdown where the relievers were strike-zone challenged.

Tim Bascom started for the Tides and Tim got roughed up early and often.  In the first inning he gave up a walk and a single which the Braves used to manufacture a run when Freddie Freeman sacrificed Matt Young across the plate.  He gave up two more runs in the 2nd inning when on a series of alternating walks and singles Nate McLouth singled to score Joe Thurston and Wilkin Ramirez.  In the 3rd inning Barbaro Canizares homered off of Bascom to put the Braves up by a 4-0 count.

Michael Aubrey hit his 18th homer of the year

The Tides offense manufactured 2 runs in the top of the 4th inning when. Nolan Reimold walked and Scott Moore reached on a force attempt where Braves starter Todd Redmond committed a throwing error attempting to force Reimold out at second. Lou Montanez singled to bring Reimold across the plate and Moore to second.  Rhyne Hughes hit into a double play and Moore went to 3rd base. Michel Hernandez singled to bring Moore across to close the gap to 4-2.

However the Braves opened up an even larger lead scoring 3 more runs off of Bascom who allowed consecutive singles to Wilkin Ramirez and Clint Sammons to set the stage for Nate McLouth who homered to make the score 7-2. However the Tides rectified that situation in the top of the 5th scoring 4 runs and in the top of the 6th adding two more. Robert Andino doubled, Michael Aubrey walked and Nolan Reimold singled to load the bases with no outs.  After Scott Moore flied out to short center Lou Montanez doubled to score Andino and Aubrey.  Michel Hernandez popped up for the second out but Paco Figueroa singled to score Reimold and Montanez to close the gap to 7-6.  In the top of the 6th with two outs Nolan Reimold walked and Scott Moore hit his 10th home run of the season to give the Tides their lead of the game.

It was at this point that things walked away from the Tides. Pat Egan had relieved Bascom in the 5th inning and was still pitching in the bottom of the 7th.  Egan got Martin Prado to ground out and then gave up singles to Freddie Freeman and Barbaro Canizares. This brought in Jim Hoey who has pitched very well since coming up from double-A Bowie having allowed just three runs in 10.1 innings pitched during 9 appearances.  In that time walks have been the bane of him as he has only allowed 3 hits but counting last night 11 walks.  Hoey gave up a single to Joe Thurston to load the bases and struck out Luis Bolivar.  He then issued a walk to Wilkin Ramirez to score Freeman and a wild pitch which scored Canizares.  He then walked Clint Sammons to reload the bases and followed that with a walk to Nate McLouth which scored Thurston.  The brought out Bobby Dickerson and Alberto Castillo came in.  Castillo walked Matt Young to score Ramirez before he struck out Willie Cabrera to end the inning with the Tides having lost their lead training by a score of 11-8.

In the 8th Michael Aubrey hit a solo home run, his 18th of the year with two outs to make the score 11-9. In the 9th Scott Moore had a 2 out double but pinch hitter Jeff Salazar struck out to end the inning and the game with the score Gwinnett 11 and Norfolk 9. Pat Egan (1-1 6.23 ERA) took the loss in relief and Scott Proctor (4-3 7.98 ERA) the win.  The Tides had 9 runs on 12 hits with 1 error stranding 8 runners and the Braves 11 runs on 13 hits and an error with 8 left on base.  The teams square off tonight with Mike Hinckley (1-3 4.78 ERA) making his first start for the Tides going up against Kenshin Kawakami (0-1, 3.18 ERA) for the G-Braves.

Up in Baltimore a rejuvenated and confident Orioles squad defeated the Seattle Mariners in 11 innings 5-4.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Tides Win Pitcher’s Duel: Hughes Powers Offense

Rhyne Hughes leaving the batters box as he hits his 4th inning home run

The Church of Baseball, Harbor Park Parish has seen its share of slugfests this home stand in which Norfolk and their opponents scored a combined 80 runs saw instead a pitcher’s duel as the Tides defeated the Braves 3-1.  The story for the Tides on a sultry humid Tidewater Wednesday night  was pitching which had been problematic over the home stand with only Troy Patton’s 3 hit blanking of the Buffalo Bisons on Monday being a notable pitching performance. That changed Wednesday night as Armando Gabino, Mike Hinckley, Ross Wolf and Denis Sarfate combined to pitch a 7 hit game giving up only one run to the Gwinnett Braves.

Armando Gabino got his 3rd win of the 2010 campaign

Scoring was sparse last night and there were no crooked numbers on the scoreboard.  In the bottom of the 2nd inning Rhyne Hughes tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Michael Aubrey.  The Tides scored again in the bottom of the 4th inning thanks to Hughes who belted a solo shot over the right field wall.  The Braves got a run in the top of the 5th inning when after retiring the first two batters Gabino hit Braves catcher Clint Sammons with a pitch.  Sammons stole second base and went to third on a single by Matt Young.  Sammons scored on the next at bat when Wes Timmons singed before Feddie Freeman struck out to end the inning.  The Tides final run came in the bottom half of the inning. Michel Hernandez reached on a throwing error by Braves shortstop Brandon Hicks.  Blake Davis grounded into a force out with Hernandez being put out a second base.  Matt Angle grounded out to first base and Davis advanced to second.  Robert Andino who had 5 RBIs in Tuesday’s game then singled to score Davis.  Neither team would score again.

The Braves had 1 run on 7 hits and an error the Tides 3 ruins on 6 hits and no errors.  Armando Gabino (3-0 2.56 ERA) got the win, Denis Sarfate got his 6th save of the year and Tim Gustafson (5-4 5.40 ERA) took the loss for the Braves.  The teams meet tonight at Harbor Park where Tim Bascom making his AAA debut for the Tides will face Chris Resop (4-2 2.10).

See you there.

Padre Steve+

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NO HITTER! The Lights Go Out in Georgia; Chris Tillman Blanks the Braves

Chris Tillman no-hit the Gwinnett Braves on Wednesday night

It was a magical night in Georgia when dreams came true for a 22 year old Baltimore Orioles prospect named Chris Tillman as the lights went out in Georgia on the Gwinnett Braves.

Tillman became the first Norfolk Tides pitcher to pitch a 9 inning no-hitter since May 15th 1992 when Dave Telgheder no-hit the Pawtucket Red Sox.  In 2001 Steve Trachsel pitched a seven inning no-hitter against the Ottawa Lynx.  Back then the Tides were with the Mets in the pre-Minaya era.

The Tides changed up their road uniforms tonight wearing the old red jerseys that hearken back to early 1960s when the Tides were an affiliate of the St Louis Cardinals and had not been worn regularly since the 2008 season.

Tillman who had begun the year with a series of rough starts has turned things around in a big way on this road trip. He began the trip with an eight inning 5-3 win in Charlotte where he controlled the game.  However, tonight Chris made history in Lawrenceville Georgia where at Coolray Field on a chilly night in front of 2989 fans he tossed the first no-hitter of the year at the AAA level and is setting himself up for a rapid promotion to Baltimore along with his stable mate and the leading pitcher in the International League Jake Arrieta.  These young and talented pitchers will along with Brian Matusz be the mainstays of the Orioles rotation for years if managed right.   Both are exceptionally talented and though some are calling for their immediate promotion to the Orioles it would not be unwise to let them work a while longer in AAA before going up.

Chris allowed just two base runners both in the 5th inning, one a walk to Brent Clevlen and the other on an error committed by First Baseman Michael Aubrey.   The rest of the game Tillman was perfect striking out 6 Braves and getting 13 more on ground outs.  He threw just 105 pitches in the effort making it all look easy.  With the win Tillman improves his record to 2-3 with a 4.05 ERA.   Jim Parr would take the loss for the Braves his first of the year.

Chris was aided by excellent defense by a number of Tides players including Corey Patterson who ran down a deep fly ball by Wes Timmons in the 3rd inning which easily could have gone for a hit had Patterson not tracked it down.

Tides hitters came forward tonight scoring 6 runs on 9 hits aided by 3 walks issued by Braves pitchers and 3 errors two by Brandon Hicks and 1 by Joe Thurston.  Seven of the nine Tides hitters hit in the game with Joey Gathright and Jeff Salazar having two each and Scott Moore and Michael Aubrey both connecting for doubles against Gwinnett starting pitcher Jim Parr.  Jeff Salazar had two stolen bases and Corey Patterson stole another as everything came together for Chris Tillman and the Tides tonight.

If you have never been to a no-hitter in person or watched or listened in rapt suspense as one unfolded before your eyes on television or a broadcaster poetically called one on the radio then you have missed what I think is one of the most suspenseful and riveting events in all of sports. I saw Ed Halicki no-hit the Mets 6-0 in Candlestick Park back on August 24th 1975.  I have been close to attending a couple of other’s missing Clyde Wright of the California Angels no-hit the A’s on July 3rd 1970 as our tickets were for the fireworks on the 4th and Nolan Ryan on May 1st 1991 when I had tickets for the following day.

However one has to imagine what it would be like for this young man to walk out onto the mound in the bottom of the ninth inning knowing how many no-hitters have been lost to unknown players who got a base hit, perhaps a line drive into the gap or a bloop into Right Field or even a grounder with eyes that gets past the outstretched glove of an infielder trying desperately to make the play to save his pitcher’s no-hitter.

Knowing things like this when the bench begins to realize that their starter is pitching the no-hitter the pitcher is left alone in the dugout.  No one talks about what is happening as they do not want to “jinx” the pitcher.  The tension begins to mount from about the 5th inning on as players and spectators alike sensing that something magical is happening before their eyes.  With every pitch and especially every time the a batter puts the ball in play there is a collective gasp as everyone, except the opposing team prays to whatever Deity they worship, and I know that even the Atheists are praying to someone at this point for a putout to be made.

I was doing that as Tides Announcer Bob Socci called the 9th inning.  Tillman got Brandon Hicks to ground out to Josh Bell at Third Base, Bell made the play and threw to Michael Aubrey for the out.  He then faced Clint Sammons and his first pitch to Sammons was a strike.  Sammons then swung at and missed the second pitch to take the count to 0-2.  His next pitch was a ball that was high in the zone followed by another low.  With the count 2 balls and 2 strikes Sammons hit one back to Tillman who ran towards first and tossed the ball to Michael Aubrey for out number two.  My heart was now racing as Chris stepped up to the rubber and faced Braves lead off hitter Michael Young.  The first pitch was fouled off by Young.  Tillman’s next pitch was a ball, the count one and one.  The next pitch also a ball and Tillman was behind in the count to Young a 250 hitter.  Chris then wound up and delivered a called strike to move the count to two and two.  Tillman paused and then delivered his fifth pitch to Young which Young hit a ground ball to Shortstop Robert Andino who threw to Aubrey for the out.  The Tides mobbed Tillman coming out of the dugout to congratulate Chris and celebrate his accomplishment.

Steve Melewski of MASN.com  has a page with audio of Bob Socci’s call of the last out, an interview with Chris and another interview with Tides pitching coach Mike Griffin.  That page is linked here:

http://masnsports.com/steve_melewski/2010/04/audio-from-chris-tillmans-no-hitter.html

Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com the Orioles’ major league beat reporter was able to ask Tillman about the game:

“Everything kind of fell into place,” Tillman said Wednesday. “I was pitching around my fastball. I had my curveball when I needed it. I was able to throw my changeup and my cutter.  My catcher [Adam Donachie] did a great job calling pitches. I had three or four great plays behind me.”

Congratulations Chris and congratulations to the Tides in the field and at the plate who helped this dream come true.  I do think that this might be a magical season for the Tides as well as Chris Tillman and maybe, just maybe things will begin looking up for the Orioles.

Peace and blessings

Padre Steve+

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