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.
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.