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Tides Double Up Braves 4-2 Split Series and Return Home Thursday

Robert Andino drove in his 70th run of the season in the 4-2 victory

After giving away Monday’s game to the Gwinnett Braves the Norfolk Tides were spoiling for a win on Tuesday and got it.  The Tides were aided by 5 errors committed by the G-Braves in the game.  Matt Angle led off the 1st inning with fly ball to right fielder Brent Clevlen which should have been caught for the first out of the game, however Clevlen misplayed the ball and Angle went to third on the error. Robert Andino immediately made the Braves pay for this error taking the first pitch from Braves starter Kenshin Kawakami to center field scoring Angle and giving the Tides a 1-0 lead.  This was Andino’s 70th RBI of the season, 4th in the International League. The Tides struck again in the 2nd inning when Lou Montanez leading off the inning took Kawakami to a 3-2 count and smashed a home run over the left field wall.

Tides pitchers made that lead stand up until the bottom of the 7th. Mike Hinckley just off the DL pitched 3.2 innings in his first start since he was at double-A Harrisburg.  He gave up a hit and two walks and struck out two in his starting debut with the Tides. He was followed by Cla Meredith who made one of his best appearances of the year pitched two hitless innings walking just one leaving with two outs in the 6th. Alberto Castillo got the final out of the inning and yielded to Kam Mickolio in the 7th.  Mickolio not long off the DL himself gave up singles to Barbaro Canizares, Willie Cabrera and Brent Clevlen with Clevlen’s hit scoring Canizares.  Joe Thurston laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners bringing Luis Bolivar to the plate and Bolivar grounded out to score Cabrera. Mickolio then got J.C. Boscan to ground out to Robert Andino to tie the game at 2-2.

The 8th inning started out inauspiciously for the Tides with quick as Matt Angle and Robert Andino both went down on strikes by reliever Stephen Marek.  However with 2 outs the Tides got another chance when Marek misplayed a ground ball allowing Jeff Salazar to get to first.  Marek then walked Nolan Reimold to send Salazar to second base. Marek’s problems were compounded when catcher J. C. Boscan attempting a pick off of Montanez at 2nd base threw the ball away allowing Montanez to take third. Scott Moore then doubled to score Salazar and Reimold to give the Tides a 4-2 lead.

Mike Hinckley made his first start in a Tides uniform

Dennis Sarfate entered the game in the 8th for a 2 inning save attempt and Dennis was sharp setting the Braves down in order in the 8th and 9th innings striking out two in the process to give the Tides the win.

Dennis Sarfate notched his 16th save with 2 innings flawless relief

Kam Mickolio (3-2 6.84 ERA) got the win and Dennis Sarfate picked up his 16th save and Stephan Marek (1-1 1.26 ERA) got the loss. The Tides had 4 runs on 5 hits with no errors leaving 6 stranded and the Braves had 2 runs on 5 hits with 5 errors leaving 6 men on base.  Wednesday was an off day for the Tides who begin a 5 game series against division and league leading Durham Thursday the 19th.

Rain could be in the forecast so bring your umbrella if you come and join me at the Church of Baseball, Harbor Park Parish.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Tides Top Braves 4-3 on Solid Pitching and Key Home Runs

Chris George provide 6 innings of solid pitching for the Tides

The Norfolk Tides finished their home stand in convincing fashion defeating the Gwinnett Braves by a score of 4-3 on a beautiful night for baseball at the Church of Baseball Harbor Park Parish.  Chris George of the Tides faced off against Jo-Jo Reyes and tonight would belong to the Tides Left hander backed up by solid relief work by Kam Mickolio, Ross Wolf and closer Denis Sarfate.

Brandon Hicks gets himself thrown out of the game in the 2nd inning

The Braves got off to a 1-0 lead in the first inning without a single hit as Chris George initially struggled with control walking Matt Young and Wes Timmons before getting Freddie Freeman to hit into a double play.  Young advanced to third on the play and scored when a balk was called on George.  In the second inning the Braves threatened and were shut down by the Tides and in the process having their Manager Dave Brundage and Brandon Hicks thrown out of the game.  Mitch Jones doubled and advanced to third on a single by Brandon Hicks.  Jordan Schafer reached first when on a fielder’s choice ground ball Tides First Baseman Brandon Snyder alertly saw Jones attempting to score and gunned him down at the plate. Brandon Hicks then with Luis Bolivar batting attempted to steal third and was thrown out by Tides Catcher Michel Hernandez.  This was a close call and Braves Manager Dave Brundage fiercely argued the call with Hicks.  Both were thrown out of the game after a delay of about 5 minutes.  Bolivar then grounded out to end the inning.

J C Boscan attempts to pick off a Tides runner at 2nd base as Matt Angle attempts to get out of the way

In the bottom half of the 2nd inning the Tides struck back with the suddenness of a thunder storm.  Rhyne Hughes reached on a fielding error by Braves First Baseman Freddie Freeman. The next batter, Brandon Snyder then crushed a pitch over the left field wall deep into the left field picnic area.  Michael Aubrey grounded out to Jo-Jo Reyes and it appeared with the bottom part of the Tides lineup coming to bat that he might escape with no more damage.  However that was not the case as Tides Catcher Michel Hernandez lifted a ball to the opposite field send the pitch into the Straub’s Beer right field party deck to make the score 3-1.  In the bottom of the 3rd inning Robert Andino cracked his 17th double of the year with one out and scored on a single by Jeff Salazar. The Braves plated another run in the top of the 4th inning when Mitch Jones scored from 2nd base on a Luis Bolivar single.

Michel Hernandez got his first home run in Norfolk

Kam Mickolio came into the game in the 7th in relief of George and after allowing a single to Luis Bolivar to lead off the inning got J C Boscan to ground into a 5-4-3 double play and then struck out Matt Young on a 96 mile and hour fast ball.  Ross Wolf came into the game in the 8th and working quickly got Wes Timmons and Freddie Freeman to ground out and Barbaro Canizares to pop out to end the inning.  Denis Sarfate came in to close the game and got Mitch Jones to fly out and then on a low and inside off speed pitch saw Joe Thurston who had replaced Hicks when the latter was tossed in the 2nd inning lift the ball just over the right field wall near the foul pole for a solo home run.  Sarfate wasted nothing else and using high hard heat with every pitch in the mid-90’s blew away Alex Romero and Luis Bolivar to end the game.

The Braves had 3 runs on 8 hits and 1 costly error and left 5 men on base.  The Tides had 4 runs on 8 hits and no errors leaving 6 on base.  Chris George (2-1 3.63) got the win and Jo-Jo Reyes (0-4 5.40) took the loss for the Braves.  Denis Sarfate got his 7th save.  Tonight after a long bus ride west the Tides take on the Columbus Clippers, the AAA affiliate of the Cleveland Indians who lead the International League West.  Troy Patton (4-7 5.13) will take the hill for the Tides facing Josh Tomlin (5-2 2.89).  In personnel news the Orioles outrighted relief pitcher Alberto Castillo to Norfolk in what seems an endless roller coaster for the left hander.  It was announced as well that Bobby Valentine, Padre Steve’s choice for the permanent managerial post for the Orioles since last season interviewed with Peter Angelos and Andy McPhail yesterday.  If you are an Orioles fan you have to hope that Bobby V will join the Orioles after all one can only hope and after all of the suffering with no name managers through most of the decade it is time that we have a marquis manager with a winning attitude and skill working with young talent, and Bobby V fits the bill.

The Tides finished the home stand with a 4 and 4 record which is remarkable if one remembers that the first three games of the series were lost in slugfests to the Buffalo Bisons.  The remarkable thing about the Tides right now is the change that I have seen on the field in the past week. Hitters are more aggressive, the base running is more aggressive, infielders are communicating better, pitchers are challenging hitters and the team is playing as a team with every member in the game even if they are not on the field.  It has been a remarkable sea change and it looks like the Tides are rolling in and might turn into a Tsunami to wreak havoc on the southern division of the International League.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides Blanked by Braves as Resop Pitches One Hitter: Arietta Wins ML Debut against Yankees

Tim Bascom pitched well in his AAA Debut in Norfolk

After a hitting frenzy in the first five games of this home stand there have bee two pitcher’s duels at the Church of Baseball, Harbor Park Parish with the second being even more impressive than the first. What had been scheduled as a match up between the two leading pitchers in the International League, Tides right-hander Jake Arietta and Braves right-hander Chris Resop changed when Arietta had his contract selected by the Orioles and at game time in Norfolk was on the mound in Baltimore pitching in his Major League debut against the World Champion New York Yankees.

Frustration at the plate: Nolan Reimold bounces a pitch foul

Instead of this highly anticipated match up the Tides started Tim Bascom who had been called up Thursday from AA Bowie and Bascom performed magnificently in his AAA debut for the Tides.  However it was Resop that stole the show last night pitching to the minimum 27 batters allowing just one hit with eight strikeouts and no walks to shut down a Tides offense that had been running roughshod over opposing pitching most of this home stand.  Bascom went 7 innings allowing 3 runs on 6 hits with 6 strikeouts and tendered just one walk.  He would be followed by Jim Miller who pitched well but had problems with his throws to first on two bunts which resulted in errors and allowed runners placed on board by Bascom to score.

Chris Resop was just about perfect in Thursday’s game

There was not much offense for either team. The Tides had just the one hit by Rhyne Hughes which was negated when Braves outfielder Mitch Jones made an incredible defensive play to rob Brandon Snyder of extra bases and then caught Hughes who had passed second base off of first for a double play the Tides were robbed by Jones twice late in the game on sharply hit fly balls that looked as if they would fall for singles or extra base hits.  The Braves got a run in the top of the 3rd inning which Elliott the Usher and I both felt should not have happened had Left Fielder Nolan Reimold caught what appeared to be a very catchable fly ball off the bat of Matt Young. Reimold did not make the play and one has to wonder what is going on with last year’s hot rookie.  Reimold has struggled with injury to his heel and I wonder if he is still having problems with it or if there is something going on in his life that is hurting his game.  Anyway, Young would score on a sacrifice fly by Freddie Freeman and the score would remain 1-0 until the 8th inning.  In the 8th Bascom who had not allowed a run or for that matter not much else gave up an infield single to J C Boscan and an infield single to Matt Young.  Reliever Jim Miller came into the game with two on and no outs and faced Wes Timmons.  Timmons also bunted a beauty; Miller did a great job getting to the ball but hurried his throw which got past First Baseman Brandon Snyder allowing Boscan to score and Young to advance to third base.  Freddie Freeman then hit a sacrifice fly which scored Young. Miller picked off Timmons and retired Mitch Jones to end the inning.  The Braves got an insurance run in the 9th when Joe Thurston bunted and for the second time Miller fielded the ball well but his throw went awry allowing Thurston on base.   Jordan Schafer then bunted sharply past the mound and Robert Andino made a great play to get Schafer but Thurston was running hard for third.  Brandon Snyder saw this and made a strong throw to third which had it been on target would have nailed Thurston, but the throw went high over the head of Paco Figueroa and Thurston scored.  Victimed by three errors in two innings the Tides lost 4-0.Chris Resop (5-2 1.84) got the win and Tim Bascom (0-1 3.86) got the loss.  The Tides had no runs on one hit and three errors and left no men on base.  The Braves had 4 runs on 8 hits and no errors leaving 6 men on base.  The teams will conclude their series tonight at Harbor Park with Jo-Jo Reyes (0-3 5.94) on the hill for the Braves facing Chris George (1-1  3.71)

Jake Arietta notched his first Major League win against the Yankees in Baltimore Thursday

In Baltimore Jake Arietta was the story pitching 6 innings and getting his first Major League win against the New York Yankees by a score of 4-3 with some help by some of his Norfolk Tides team mates.  Scott Moore who went to Baltimore last month from the Tides who hit his first Major League home run, Frank Mata came in to shut down the Yankees in the 7th and David Hernandez notched his first Major League save as the closer.  The O’s broke a 10 game losing streak against the Yankees with the win.

See you tonight at Harbor Park,

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Tides Lose Opener in Georgia 7-2 Leave 9 Runners in Scoring Position; Orioles defeat Yankees 5-4 at Camden Yards

Brandon Hicks went 1 for 3 on Tuesday Night

The Norfolk Tides went down to Georgia to open their series against the Gwinnett Braves in cool and windy weather under a cloudy night sky more reminiscent of Norfolk than suburban Atlanta in front of 2547 fans at Gwinnett County Coolray Field.  The Tides hoped to come off of a loss in the final game of their series against Charlotte on Monday to restart their recent winning streak against the Braves but that did not happen as the Braves defeated the Tides 7-2 behind the solid pitching of four Braves pitchers who allowed just 2 runs on 6 hits despite walking 7 Tides batters.

Brandon Erbe fell to 0-4 continuing to struggle at AAA

Tides starter Brandon Erbe went down to Georgia seeking his first win of the season but got in trouble early walking Matt Young to lead off the inning followed by a single to Gregor Blanco, another walk this time to Freddie Freeman and a bases loaded single to Brent Clevlen which drove in Young and Blanco.  He gave up a third run in the 2nd inning when Wes Timmons and J C Boscan both singled and Timmons was driven home by a sacrifice fly off the bat of Matt Young.

The Tides would get a run back in the top of the 4th inning when Josh Bell doubled on a sharp line drive to center and was advanced to third on a single by Scott Moore.  Braves catcher J C Boscan allowed a pitch by Braves starter Tim Gustafson to get by him giving Moore the chance to take second base. With two on and no outs Brandon Snyder grounded out to short scoring Bell.  The Tides mustered nothing else in the fourth as Corey Patterson flied to left and Justin Turner grounded into a Fielder’s Choice in which Moore was out at third.

Joey Gathright went 2 for 4 with a double

The Braves took that run back in the bottom of the fourth as Brandon Erbe’s woes continued.  Erbe walked Brandon Hicks and Wes Timmons. J C Boscan dropped a perfect sacrifice bunt that Tides Catcher Adam Donachie fielded but who only had a play at first.  This advanced Hicks and Timmons and brought Matt Young to the plate.  Young hit a sacrifice fly to Left Fielder Joey Gathright scoring Hicks.  Erbe want to the showers when he gave up a walk to Gregor Blanco.  Chris George entered the game to get the final out.

In the top of the 5th the Tides got another run when Adam Donachie singled, Joey Gathright doubled and Robert Andino hit a sacrifice fly to right which scored Donachie.

With the score 4-2 and the Tides looking to get back into the game the Braves literally “stole” the game and put a stake in the heart of the Tides hopes for the night. Chris George who has been a solid middle reliever this year walked the first batter Brent Clevlen and then got Mitchell Jones looking.  George then walked Joe Thurston.  The Braves then pulled off a double steal which advanced Clevlen to third and Thurston to second.  George then got Brandon Hicks to strike out and intentionally walked Wes Timmons.  With the bases loaded J C Boscan hit a soft fly to right which fell for a hit and scored Clevlen and Thurston and advanced Timmons to third.  With Matt Young batting Wes Timmons did what is seldom done and on a double steal attempt stole home for the third run of the inning.

The game would finish with the Braves using three relievers beginning in the top of the 6th inning to shut down the Tides.  The Tides would make an 8th inning rally attempt which fell short with the bases loaded.  Ross Wolf came on for the Tides to pitch the 6th and 7th innings and Frank Mata closed out the game with neither pitcher allowing any Braves runs.  Braves pitching was adequate Tim Gustafson (1-1 6.75) got the win giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and two walks. Both teams committed an error.

For the Tides Joey Gathright went 2 for 4 with a double and a walk. Brandon Snyder and Jeff Salazar each had an RBI.  Brandon Erbe got the loss dropping to 0-4 on the season with an 8.35 ERA.  Brandon gave up 4 runs on 6 hits walking 5 in 3.2 innings work. Chris George (1-0 4.50) had his first bad outing of the year going only one and a third innings giving up 3 runs on 1 hit with two walks.  The story for the Tides was the inability to score runs. They left eleven men on base and had eleven in scoring position of which only one the Tides brought home.

The Tides and Brave meet tonight at 7:05 PM with Chris Tillman (1-3 6.11) taking the Hill for the Tides and James Parr (1-1 3.48) on the hill for the Braves.

Alberto Castillo got his first win of the year in Baltimore against the Yankees

Meanwhile at Camden Yards the Orioles got their first home win of the season as well as their first winning streak by defeating the Champion New York Yankees and their wrecking crew holding on to win 5-4.  It was a night where former Norfolk Tides shined to secure the win.   In the 6th inning Rhyne Hughes continued to shine beginning an Orioles rally with a RBI single, this was followed by one by Nolan Reimold and Cesar Izturis.  Recent Tides Alberto Castillo got the win and Alfredo Simon in his appearance as an Oriole got the save.  Tonight the Yankees send C C Sabathia against the Orioles Jeremy Guthrie.

We’ll see how the night goes.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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