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Tides Win on Bell’s 12th Inning Walk-Off Home Run

Troy Patton pitched 6.2 innings allowing 2 runs on 5 hits but got a no-decision

Josh Bell did something that has seldom happened at Harbor Park.  It was not the walk off home run but it was the feat of having a home run in three consecutive games in a ballpark that is a pitcher’s paradise and a power hitter’s nightmare.  Harbor Park opened in 1993 when the Norfolk Tides were the AAA affiliate of the New York Mets.  The dimensions of the park are very similar to the Mets’ old home Shea Stadium.  The left field line 330 feet, right field 318, and dead center 410 feet.  In fact not very many of today’s Major League parks have as deep dimensions as the home of the Norfolk Tides.  Not only is it a big yard but the prevailing winds during the season also mitigate against a lot of home runs as does the air which often is heavy with humidity.  The winds usually come off the East Fork of the Elizabeth River and blow in knocking down balls hit to right or right center.  Typically the leading Tides home run leader since the team has moved to Harbor Park in 1993 hits an average 16 home runs a season and of course many of those come in other parks.  By contrast the Durham Bulls have averaged over 25 home runs a season since coming into the International League in 1997 the same is true of the Pawtucket Red Sox who have been in the International League since 1993 and the Toledo Mud Hens during the same period average 26. The Buffalo Bisons average 16 per season for their leading home run hitter over the same time period but face some of the worst weather in the league.  The truth is that Harbor Park for its beauty as a ballpark is a pitcher’s paradise and hitter’s nightmare all of which sets the stage for the story of Friday evening’s game between the Tides and the Mud Hens.

Alberto Castillo made his first appearance since returning from Baltimore

With warm and windy conditions in front of a crowd of 5943 the Tides and the Toledo Mud Hens met for the second game of a four game series.  This game was dominated by the pitchers and it was a long night for both teams because of how well the pitchers worked.  Prior to this game only two teams in the International League had not played an extra inning game and both were on the field Friday. I guess it was destiny that the game would go extra innings how could it not? In 12 innings the two teams pitchers allowed a combined 5 runs only 4 of which were earned runs.

Daniel Schlereth after the wild pitch that allowed Michael Aubry to score

After a scoreless first inning the Mud Hens took a one nothing lead in the top of the second when Max Leon singled to score Jeff Frazier. They extended it to 2-0 in the top of the third when Jeff Frazier singled to drive in Brent Dlugach but after that would manage just three more hits as Troy Patton, Ross Wolf, Frank Mata, Alberto Castillo and Jim Miller shut down a potent Toledo line up allowing no extra base hits.

The Tides offensive production also lagged as compared to the previous two outings where they scored a dozen runs per game.  Friday however the Tides hitters were contained by the Toledo pitchers who scattered 9 hits in the 12 innings.  The Tides got on the board in bottom of the 3rd inning when Josh Bell singled to drive in Robert Andino.  The score would remain 2-1 until the bottom of the 6th inning.  Michael Aubrey singled to lead off the inning and then Brandon Snyder stuck out swinging.  The Mud Hens then took out starter Enrique Gonzalez bringing in Daniel Schlereth in relief.  With Blake Davis at the plate Mud Hens catcher Angel Flores allowed a passed ball which allowed Aubrey to take second Troy Patton the Tides starter allowed two walks which placed runners on second and third.  Ross Wolf came on in relief and on his first pitch got Brent Dlugach to pop out to second.  The Tides would have a runner on second in both the 8th and 10th innings bit were unable to bring the runner home.  In the 11th the Tides threatened again. Blake Davis singled and advanced to second on a very well executed sacrifice bunt by Adam Donachie.  Robert Andino hit an infield single which did not advance Davis.  Joey Gathright grounded out to advance Davis to third and Andino to second.  Corey Patterson the grounded out sharply and the 11th inning ended with the teams still tied at two.

Tides players mob Josh Bell after his walk off home run

Jim Miller came on in the 12th inning in relief of Alberto Castillo who in his first appearance at Norfolk since he was optioned back to the team by the Orioles when Koji Uehara completed his rehab work. Miller put the Mud Hens down in order striking out Diek Scram, getting Angel Flores to pop out in foul territory to Adam Donachie and retiring Will Rhymes on a line drive to left fielder Joey Gathright.

In the bottom of the 12th the Mud Hens sent in Jay Sborz to pitch.  The first batter that Sborz faced was Josh Bell who had homered in his last two games at Harbor Park.  Bell slammed the ball to deep center and it kept going out of the park. As Bell crossed the plate he was mobbed by his teammates.

Jim Miller got the win and Sborz the loss. The Mud Hens had 2 runs on 9 hits with no errors with 8 men left on base. The Tides 3 runs on 9 hits and no errors with 13 left on base.

The teams met again Saturday night but that article will be posted sometime later Sunday.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mothers out there!

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Tides Hit Parade Continues: Big Hits Power Team over Mud Hens 12-7

Josh Bell smashes a three run homer in the 1st inning

And after a drought the hits came and with them the runs and with them the wins.  The Norfolk Tides appear to have snapped out of their hitting funk and like a like a battleship are now plowing through the waves and blasting whatever appears on their radar.  In the past two games, actually the past 16 innings the Norfolk Tides have scored 24 runs on 25 hits.

Justin Turner slams a 3 run double

After a bad slump where it seemed nothing went right offensively the Tides have managed to put hits together and get the all important big hits to break the backs of the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees and the Toledo Mud Hens in back to back 12 run offensive displays that featured 6 home runs.

Scott Moore safe sliding into home after Justin Turner’s  3 RBI double

After taking their first day off since the season began the Tides following the thrashing that they gave the Yankees the team came back and on what was an initially a warm and humid night pounded the Mud Hens with another ferocious offensive display.  The Tides wasted no time in putting runs on the board.  Following a ground out by Robert Andino grounded out to short and the avalanche began and the Tides began to light up the Hens like a Kenny Rogers Roaster on a rotisserie.  Joey Gathright who changed his number from 10 to 7 in the classic baseball superstition of doing anything to break a slump bunted for a single.  Corey Patterson singled to left to move Gathright to second and up came Josh Bell who is rapidly becoming a major hitting threat in the IL south.   Bell who had three home runs in Charlotte and has continued making key hits during this home stand hammered the second pitch by Toledo starter Armando Galarraga over the right field wall to give the Tides a three run 1st inning lead.

Chris George threw 5 strong innings but got a no decsion

With the early lead Tides starter Chris George went to work setting the Mud Hens down in order in the 1st and 2nd innings and allowing a single in the 3rd before working a pick off play to cut down the runner attempting to steal 2nd.

The Tides struck again with another crooked score in the 3rd inning.  With one out Joey Gathright singled on an infield hit to second.  Corey Patterson struck out swinging and the Galarraga gave up walks to Josh Bell and Scott Moore.  This brought Justin Turner to the plate and Turner doubled on a deep fly ball to center field which drove in all three Tides base runners.  Chris George went back on the mound and after getting the first two Mud Hens runners off base with a double play gave up two runs on two hits.  In the bottom of the 4th Michael Aubrey took a one ball one strike pitch from Galarraga and pounded it for a lead off home run.  George was tapped for 3 runs in the top of the 5th with two the result of an error by right fielder Michael Aubrey which occurred on a routine fly with two outs.

Michael Aubrey slams a solo shot in the 4th inning

Toledo sent Robby Weinhardt to the mound in relief of Galarraga in the 5th and the Tides sent Armando Gabino to relieve Chris George in the 6th. Both Weinhardt and Gabino pitched scoreless innings until Weinhardt came out in the 7th and Gabino in the 8th.  Fien pitched a score 7th and was relieved in the bottom of the 8th by Jason Waddell.

The Tides sent the left hander Pedro Viola in to relieve Gabino in the top of the 8th.  Viola walked the left handed batter Jeff Larish and was pulled by Manager Gary Allenson for the big right hander Kam Mickolio.  Mickolio has struggled this year especially after his return from Baltimore.  Jeff Frazier doubled off of Mickolio and then the big man walked Casper Wells to load the bases with no outs.  Clete Thomas grounded into a force play to score Jeff Larish.  Thomas then stole second and advanced to third on a single by Robinzon Diaz which scored Frazier.  Mickolio was able to retire the next two batters end the inning but not before the damage had been done and the game was tied 7-7.

The Tides did not take this lying down exploding for 5 runs in the bottom of the 8th.  With Jason Waddell now on the mound Corey Paterson singled to start the inning.  Josh Bell flied out to right but Patterson took second.  Scott Moore doubled to bring Patterson home and then Waddell walked Justin Turner and Blake Davis replaced Scott Moore as a pinch runner at second.  Brandon Snyder walked to load the bases.  With one out Michael Aubrey hit a sacrifice fly on which Davis scored, Justin Turner advanced to third and Brandon Snyder took second on a throwing error by center fielder Caspar Wells.  Adam Donachie walked to load the bases yet again.  Robert Andino then split the right center gap and doubled to score both Turner and Snyder.  Finally Joey Gathright grounded out to end the inning.

Justin Turner and Brandon Snyder already across and Adam Donachie coming home on Robert Andino’s 3 RBI double in the bottom of the 8th

Jim Miller came in with a five run lead in a non-save situation.  He allowed two base hits but surrendered no runs and the Tides were able to celebrate with another win in which they scored 12 runs.  Kam Mickolio got a blown save but the win while Chris George got the no-decision on a game that save for two out error in the top of the 5th the blown save by Mickolio that he should have won.  Jason Waddell got the loss for Toledo.

Jim Miller closes the deal Tides win 12-7

The teams will meet again tonight at Harbor Park where Toledo’s Enrique Gonzalez will match up against Troy Patton of the Tides.  As for other news and notes Koji Uehara ended his rehab and was promoted to Baltimore and Alberto Castillo optioned back to Norfolk.  The Orioles defeated the Twins in their first appearance at Target Field by a score of 2-0 with Brad Bergeson pitching 6 scoreless innings for his second win of the season. Tonight’s Orioles and Twins game has been postponed due to rain and will be made up in a double header on Saturday.

Peace and see you at the ball park.

Padre Steve+

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