If you have ever had one of those days that you wish you could do all over again and I know that I have, you may understand what Norfolk Tides pitcher Troy Patton went through on a warm and breezy Saturday night down and the Cathedral on the bank of the Elizabeth River’s East Fork in front of 7592 fans on military appreciation night. Patton had one of those days that many pitchers occasionally have where he was simply hittable. From my vantage point behind home plate it seemed that his pitches were not moving and the Rochester Red Wings who stocked their batting order with right handed batters did not let up on the young lefty.
Troy got through the 1st and 2nd innings without surrendering a run but making a lot of pitches will allowing two singles. The Tides then got him a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd when Adam Donachie singled to score Josh Bell from third. The Tides had 3 hits in the inning and it looked like things might be on track for a fourth straight win at home.
However in the 3rd inning Patton began to run into trouble. Toby Gardenhire doubled the first pitch down the left field line to start the inning. Patton was able to get the next two batters out but Gardenhire scored on a ground out by Matt Tolbert. Brian Dinkleman doubled to right and scored on a single by Danny Valencia but Valencia was thrown out at second by Adam Donachie when he tried to take second on the throw to home to end the inning. Patton gave up another double with two outs in the top of the fourth inning to Wilson Ramos but no damage was done as Patton got Brock Peterson to pop out to shortstop Robert Andino to ending the inning and the threat.
The Tides went quietly in the bottom of the fourth and Joey Gathright replaced Michael Aubrey as the designated hitter. It was in the top of the 5th that Troy Patton’s night became one that he would rather forget as the Wings turned the left field line into a shooting gallery. Toby Gardenhire led off with a single but was thrown out by Nolan Reimold and that would be the last out that Patton would see. Jason Repko and Matt Tolbert had back to back doubles both down the line in left with Tolbert’s scoring Repko. After an extended visit to the mound by pitching coach Mike Griffin Patton went back to work as did the Wings. Brian Dinkleman singled on a line drive down the left field line to score Tolbert and he was followed by Danny Valencia who did the same sending Dinkleman to second. Matt Macri doubled down the line to left scoring Dinkleman. Dustin Martin then singled down the left field line to score Valencia. This was enough for Gary Allenson who sent a disappointed and obviously frustrated Patton to the dugout. Into the carnage Allenson brought right handed submariner Andy Mitchell. Mitchell who until this year had been a starter and shuttled from the roster to the taxi squad and back a couple of times this year while maintaining his poise and composure adjusting to the changes with grace did not disappoint tonight. With two on and only one out Andy got Wilson Ramos to fly out to right but allowed a single down the left field line to Brock Peterson scoring Matt Macri for the final run charged to Patton’s account. Andy then retired Toby Gardenhire who had began the inning on a ground ball to first that Brandon Snyder made a great play to get the ball and toss it to Mitchell to end the inning. The Tides mustered nothing in the bottom frame going down one two three.
The Red Wings would pick up an unearned run in the top of the 6th inning but Jeff Salazar led off the bottom frame with a solo home run. Josh Bell hit a two out double but was stranded at second when Nolan Reimold struck out swinging. Andy Mitchell sent the Wings down in order in the 7th and allowed a single in the 8th pitching three and two thirds inning without an earned run. In the bottom half of the 8th inning Jeff Salazar and Robert Andino singled and Rhyne Hughes walked to load the bases with one out. Josh Bell batting right handed struck out and then Nolan Reimold did the same to end the Tides best chance at a multi run inning.
Pedro Viola came into the game in the 9th inning for the Tides in relief of Mitchell and had his best outing of the year since arriving in Norfolk. After walking the first batter he retired the next three batters in order to close out the top of the 9th. In the bottom frame the Tides went down in order to end the game but knowing that tomorrow is another day and a chance to get back in the winning side of life.
The Red Wings had 9 runs on 17 hits with one error and left 9 men on base. The Tides two runs on 8 hits and one error and left 6 runners on base. Troy Patton (2-6 6.56) got the loss giving up 8 runs on 13 hits in 4.1 innings. Andy Mitchell had no earned runs in 3.2 innings giving up 4 hits. Rochester starter Matt Fox (4-2 2.82) got the win giving up 2 runs, only one earned on 5 hits in 6 innings.
In Washington the Orioles lost to the Nationals in their second of three interleague games with the Nats. Tomorrow is the rubber game in the series.
Sunday afternoon the Tides and Red Wings play again at Harbor Park with Jeff Manship (2-2 3.93) taking the hill for Rochester and Brandon Erbe (0-7 6.07) going for his first win of the season.