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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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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 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 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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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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