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Tides Drop Final Two Games in Durham Finish Season 67-77

Former Tides Outfielder Nolan Reimold now in Baltimore homered on Tuesday as the Orioles defeated the Yankees 6-2

The Norfolk Tides entered Sunday with a five game winning streak hoping to finish the season on a winning note by defeating their International League South nemesis the Durham Bull’s.  The Tides had taken the first game of the series 7-6 on Saturday behind the hitting of Third Baseman Scott Moore with Frank Mata getting the win in relief.

On Sunday the Tides sent Armando Gabino to the and the right hander making a spot start had a 5-3 lead when he came out of the game at the end of the 5th inning. Kam Mickolio pitched two innings. In the 7th Kam sent the Bulls down in order but in the 8th game up a walk and a single and was replaced on the hill by closer Dennis Sarfate who has set down the opposition like clockwork with 20 saves this season.  However Sunday the usually reliable Sarfate, who has pitched the Tides out of numerous jams in the late innings did not have a good day. After striking out Kyle Holloway, Sarfate gave up a triple to Tide Killer Elliott Johnson to score both runs which were charged to Mickolio.  With the score tied and Johnson on third base intentionally walked the hot hitting Chris Richard to get to Joe Dillon. Dillon hit a sacrifice fly ball to center which scored Johnson to give the Bulls a 6-5 lead before Leslie Anderson grounding into a force out to end the inning. In the top of the 9th innings the Tides got Jeff Salazar aboard on a two out single but Michael Aubrey struck out on a long at bat against Joe Bateman to end the game. Sarfate (2-2, 20S 2.73 ERA) got the loss and Bateman (7-0 1.66 ERA) got the win for the Bulls.  The Tides outhit the Bulls but came up short having 5 runs on 10 hits with 1 error leaving 8 men on base. The Bulls 6 runs on 6 hits with no errors leaving 3 aboard.

On Sunday the Tides suffered another disappointing 12 inning loss to the Bulls. The Tides sent Tim Bascom who of late had pitched very well against the Bulls but the young right-hander was roughed up giving up 5 runs on 11 hits in 5.2 innings work. Tides relievers Pat Egan and Jim Hoey held the Bulls as did Mike Hinckley who pitched three innings but gave up a leadoff double to Justin Ruggiano in the bottom of the 12th inning. Ruggiano advanced to 3rd on a sacrifice bunt by Nevin Ashley. Hinckley then intentionally walked Joe Dillon before giving up the game winning single to Leslie Anderson.  Hinckley (1-4 4.19 ERA) who pitched well got the loss for the Tides in his first appearance after coming off of the DL while Paul Phillips (1-0 1.69 ERA) picked up the win for the Bulls. The Tides had 5 runs on 12 hits with 2 errors leaving 8 runners stranded.  The Bulls had 6 runs on 17 hits with 1 error leaving 12 men on base.

Former Tide Jake Arrieta got the Win in Yankee Stadium Tuesday

The Tides finished the year tied with Charlotte for 3rd in the IL South with 67-77 records.  The day following the game the Orioles called up Troy Patton.  On Monday and Tuesday the Orioles defeated the New York Yankees in New York with former Tides figuring in the wins especially on Tuesday as Jake Arrieta got the win aided by a home run by Nolan Reimold and some outstanding defense including that of Robert Andino at shortstop.

In the coming days and weeks I will do some analysis of the Tides 2010 season.   I will miss this year’s Tides players many of whom that I gave come to know over the past two years. The Orioles have stated that the off season will be very active and that will certainly affect the careers of some of these young men that I count as friends.  It is my hope and prayer that they will all continue in baseball and make the Majors at some point be it with the Orioles or another organization. Some of those that are getting older may not continue but I hope that they too will be able to remain in baseball in the professional or collegiate ranks managing, coaching or scouting as so many others have done.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides Win in 10: Defeat Bulls 7-6

Scott Moore went 3 for 5 with a grand slam home run and 5 RBIs

The Durham Bulls have been the nemesis of the International League for the last 3 years. The reigning IL Champions and AAA World’s Series winner from 2009 are poised to repeat again as they head into the post season as IL South Champions, a crown that they have worn since 2006.  This year the Bulls have pretty much owned the Tides going 14 and 5 against Norfolk going into today although 7 of those losses were by two runs or less.

Zach Britton struck out 9 Bulls but had a no decision

The Tides started Zach Britton against Durham starter Ramon Ortiz.  The Tides offense jumped Ortiz in the 1st inning. Ortiz walked Paco Figueroa with one out and then gave up a single to Jeff Salazar.  He then committed an error missing a catch at first to allow Michael Aubrey aboard and load the bases.  Scott Moore then took a 2 and 0 pitch over the over the right field wall for a grand-slam home run to give the Tides a 4-0 lead.  Rhyne Hughes came to the plate and singled before Ortiz was pulled in favor of Dale Thayer having given up 4 runs on 3 hits registering only 1 out. Thayer got Buck Britton to ground into a double play to end the inning.  The Bulls took two of those runs back in the bottom of the 1st inning when J.J. Furmaniak singled to lead off the inning.  Britton struck out Omar Luna before giving up a single to Elliott Johnson to put runners at first and second with 1 out. Britton then tossed a wild pitch to move the runners to second and third. Chris Richard singled to drive in both runners before Britton retired Joe Dillon and Leslie Anderson on strikes.

In the bottom of the 2nd inning Britton hurt himself in allowing a third run. He gave up a leadoff single to Nevin Ashley and stuck out Bobby Livingston. He then got Fernando Perez to ground out sending Ashley to 2nd.  With Omar Luna batting catcher Adam Donachie then allowed a passed ball to get Ashley to third before making a wild pitch to score Ashley. He then stuck out Luna to retire the side with the score 4-3. The Tides scored a run in the top of the 3rd inning as with 1 out Jeff Salazar walked and stole second. Michael Aubrey flied out bringing up Scott Moore who doubled to drive in Salazar to make the score 5-3 but Moore was thrown out going for third to end the inning.

The score would remain 5-3 until the top of the 8th inning.  Britton left the game after 6 innings having given up 3 runs, 2 of which were earned on 4 hits striking out 9 bulls while walking two. Pat Egan relieved Britton in the 7th sending the Bulls down in order. In the top of the 8th the Tides scored again when with one out Paco Figueroa singled and advanced to second on a passed ball.  Jeff Salazar singled to send Figueroa to 3rd and with runners on first and third Michael Aubrey hit a sacrifice fly to score Figueroa and the lead was 6-3.

At this point the Tides bullpen got into trouble.  J.J. Furmaniak singled to lead off the inning and Egan then retired Oamr Luna on a fly ball to right and Elliott Johnson on a ground ball which advanced Furmaniak to second.  Alberto Castillo relieved Egan and unlike his appearance against Charlotte on Friday night was beaten about by the Bulls. Chris Richard took Castillo’s first pitch over the right field wall to make the score 6-5.  Castillo then gave up consecutive singles to Joe Dillon and Leslie Anderson before he was pulled for Frank Mata. Mata got Ashby to ground into a force at second to end the inning.

Frank Mata got the win in relief for the Tides

Winston Abreu came into the game in the 9th giving up a 1 out walk to Adam Donachie before getting Miguel Abreu to ground into a double play to end the inning. Mata came back out in the bottom of the 9th to attempt the save. Kyle Holloway came into the game as a pinch hitter for Bobby Livingston who hammered Mata’s first pitch into left for a leadoff double. Fernando Perez bunted to sacrifice Holloway to third for the first out.  J.J. Furmaniak singled to score Holloway before Mata retired the side sending the game into extra innings knotted at six.

Abreu remained in the game for the Bulls and issued a leadoff walk to Blake Davis. Davis advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Paco Figueroa and to third on a ground out by Jeff Salazar. Now with two outs and Davis on third Michael Aubrey came to the plate. Abreu tossed a wild pitch to score Davis before giving up a single to Aubrey before retiring Scott Moore on a comebacker. The Bulls came to bat in the bottom of the 10th against Mata who walked Chris Richard but then sent down Joe Dillon, Leslie Anderson and Nevin Ashley in order to end the game with the Tides winning 7-6.

Frank Mata (5-3 3.16 ERA) got the win in relief for the Tides while Winston Abreu (0-4 2.28 ERA) got the loss for the Bulls. The Tides had 7 runs on 10 hits with no errors leaving just 4 runners on base. The Bulls had 6 runs on 10 hits with an error leaving 7 runners stranded.  The teams will play this evening with the Tides starting Armando Gabino (7-0 2.29 ERA) on the hill against Brian Baker (9-5 3.56 ERA). Chris Tillman was called up by the Orioles to start against the Rays where he left the game with 5.2 innings pitched giving up 3 runs and ending up with a no decision in his first appearance in front of Buck Showalter in a game that is still underway as this post is published.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides doubled up by Braves Sunday and blanked Monday end Road Trip 4-4

Chris Tillman makes what should be his last appearance in a Tides uniform tonight

The Norfolk Tides looked to be a winner on Sunday leading 4-0 in the 6th inning when things began to come apart. The Tides had taken a 3-0 lead in the top of the 3rd inning when Paco Figueroa singled and Matt Angle reached on an error and Figueroa advanced to 3rd base.  With runners on 1st and 3rd Robert Andino singled to bring home Figueroa. Michael Aubrey struck out for the second out before consecutive singles by Nolan Reimold and Lou Montanez which scored Angle and Andino to give the Tides a 3-0 lead.  In the top of the 6th the Tides added to their lead as leadoff batter Lou Montanez reached second on a throwing error by shortstop Luis Bolivar.  With 2 outs catcher Michel Hernandez delivered a single to score Montanez to give the Tides a 4-0 lead.

Starter Troy Patton who pitched a shutout for five and two thirds innings gave up a walk to Troy Glaus and then a home run to Barbaro Canizares.  He got out of the inning with the Tides still leading 4-2 and would be relieved by Pat Egan in the 7th.  Of late the Tides relief pitching has been exceptional often going long and shutting out the other team to keep the Tides in the game.  It was not so Sunday as nearly every reliever struggled to some degree in the 7th inning.  Egan allowed 2 runs on one hit but only one was earned getting only 1 man out. Alberto Castillo fared no better allowing 2 runs on 2 hits again getting only one man out and finally Jim Hoey who allowed 2 runs on 2 hits but got the final out.  Castillo (1-2 4.58 ERA) would get credit for the blown save and the loss and Braves middle reliever Michael Broadway (3-0 5.68 ERA) took the win. The Tides had 4 runs on 6 hits with no errors leaving four men stranded. The Braves 8 runs on 10 hits with 2 errors leaving 8 men on base.

On Monday night the teams played the final game of the series with the Braves shutting out the Tides 4-0. Zach Britton pitched well for the Tides giving up only 1 earned run in 5 innings work but victimized by errors committed by Blake Davis and Robert Andino.  Tides hitters were shut down by Braves starter Scott Diamond (4-0 2.41 ERA) who pitched a complete game two hit shutout. The Tides mustered no runs on 2 hits and committed two errors leaving 3 runners aboard while the Braves had 4 runs on 10 hits with one error. Barbaro Canizares homered for the Braves.  The teams meet tonight at Harbor Park with Chris Tillman (10-7 3.53 ERA) making what will likely be his final start for the Tides before going to Baltimore as a September call-up facing Jose Ortegano (3-9 6.31 ERA).  Other Tides will likely make the trip to Baltimore over the next couple of days and if I was a betting man I would guess that pitchers Armando Gabino, Frank Mata and Kam Mickolio who are all of the 40 man roster get the nod as well as Nolan Reimold, Brandon Snyder and Lou Montanez.  I would like to see a few others get called up in some case as nothing more than for loyally staying in the organization. I would like to see Dennis Sarfate, Andy Mitchell and Jim Miller get the call although only Sarfate has the numbers to support a call up. I would also like to see Paco Figueroa and Matt Angle get a few swings in the majors.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Bascom and Tides down Knights 5-1

Tim Bascom got in the groove Friday and got his 3rd win of the season

Tim Bascom has had a rough season since coming up from Double-A Bowie. The young right-hander has battled adversity but Friday Tim showed what kind of pitcher that I believe he really is by pitching 7 strong innings giving up just 1 run on 5 hits and walking only one Charlotte batter.  He was supported by a solid performance by the Tides offense that produced 5 runs on 8 hits.

Lou Montanez homered in the 4th to drive in 2 runs

After a scoreless first inning the Tides came to bat and Michael Aubrey drew a leadoff walk.  Lou Montanez struck out bringing Rhyne Hughes to the plate. Hughes doubled off of Charlotte starter Jeff Marquez to give the Tides runners on second and third with 1 out. Blake Davis then grounded out to score Aubrey for his 6th RBI in the last 3 games.  Catcher Michel Hernandez then singled to score Hughes before Marquez retired Paco Figueroa on a line drive to center field giving the Tides an early 2-0 lead over their Southern division rivals. The Knights took one of those runs back in the bottom frame when Stefan Gartrell homered to left center on a 2-2 count.  Tim gave up consecutive singles to Tyler Flowers and Luis Rodriquez but got Dayan Viciedo to ground into a double play and Jeremy Reed to ground out to third.

Pat Egan made another solid relief appearance for the Tides

The Tides tied on a pair of runs in the top of the 4th and once again Michael Aubrey figured in the equation. Aubrey singled to lead off the inning to bring Lou Montanez to the plate. Montanez took Marquez yard sending a 1-0 pitch over the center field wall to give the Tides a 4-1 lead.  In the 5th the Tides scored again. With one out Robert Andino laid down a bunt that was fielded by catcher Tyler Flowers. Flowers’ throw to first missed heading into right field and Andino went to third.  Jeff Salazar singled to drive in Andino for the Tides final run of the game.

Tim Bascom allowed only 2 more hits after the second inning walking only one Charlotte batter completing 7 solid innings. He was relieved in the 8th by Alberto Castillo who stuck out Jeremy Reed and Josh Kroeger on 8 pitches before surrendering a walk to Alejandro De Aza.  Bobby Dickerson brought in Pat Egan with two outs and Egan got Brent Morel to pop out to Blake Davis to end the inning.  Egan sent the Knights down in order in the 9th to secure the win for Bascom and the Tides.

The Tides had 5 runs on 8 hits with no errors and had the home run by Montanez and double by Hughes to help power them to the win. The Knights had 1 run on 5 hits committing two errors including the costly throw by Flowers in the 5th inning that allowed Andino to reach and advance to third.  Tim Bascom (3-7 7.31 ERA) got the win for the Tides while Jeff Marquez (8-8 4.58 ERA) took the loss.  The Tides go down to Georgia to begin a three game series against the Gwinnett Braves. Chris George (4-7 4.45 ERA) will take the hill for the Tides and face Todd Redmond (9-10 4.20 ERA).  Last night the Orioles defeated the Angels in Anaheim with Brad Bergeson making another strong start to get his 6th win of the season.

Have a great weekend,

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides lose in Durham 1-0 Tuesday but break Skid Wednesday with 6-2 win over Bulls

Troy Patton pitched well but again came away with a loss as he had little in the way of hitting support

Once again a Tides pitcher pitched a great game and the team played great defense and once again the Norfolk Tides lost to the Durham Bulls, the 6th loss in the last 6 games to the IL South Champion Bulls.  Troy Patton only gave up only 4 hits and three walks striking out 7 but gave up one earned run in the 4th inning when Justin Ruggiano led off with a single. Troy then hit both Chris Richard and Rocco Baldelli trying to pitch them in to load the bases. Dioner Navarro then hit a sacrifice fly to score Ruggiano for the only run of the game.  Troy would complete 6.1 innings and had the Tides been able to produce runs would have likely had won the game.

The Tides had a chance in the 2nd inning when Nolan Reimold singled and was cut down at the plate trying to score from first on a Lou Montanez double. The Tides left two men aboard in the top of the 5th and scattered others throughout the game but could not plate a runner.  Bulls’ starter Richard De Los Santos pitched 6.2 innings giving up 6 hits, walking 2 and striking out 4 Tides. The relief pitchers for both teams shut down the other team and the game ended with Durham winning 1-0.  De Los Santos (15-5 3.42 ERA) got the win and Patton (7-11 4.67 ERA) took the loss while Winston Abreu notched his 21st save. The Bulls had 1 run on 6 hits and 2 errors leaving 7 men on base. The Tides had no runs on 6 hits and no errors leaving 7 runners stranded.  Once again it was a case of the Bulls taking advantage of opponent’s mistakes, in this case the two hit batters in the 4th to get the win.

Both Troy Patton and Pat Egan pitched very well allowing only the 1 run and 6 hits between them. Both pitchers have pitched well recently but have not gotten the breaks, sometimes due to errors in the field by Tides players or by a lack of hitting as was the case Tuesday.

Zach Britton threw an excellent game to get the win against Durham on Wednesday night

On Wednesday Zach Britton pitched a strong six innings to get a win over the Bulls aided by some good hitting, especially a grand slam home run in the 2nd inning by Blake Davis.  It looked early like Britton might be off to a rough outing after giving up a two out single to Justin Ruggiano and home run to Chris Richard giving a the Bulls an early 2-0 lead. That lead disappeared in the second when the Tides scored the four runs when Nolan Reimold, Lou Montanez and Brandon Snyder singled to load the bases and Blake Davis in his first at bat after coming off the DL taking Bulls starter Ramon Ortiz yard on the 7th pitch of the at bat.  The Tides picked up another run in the top of the 3rd inning when Nolan Reimold doubled to drive Jeff Salazar home.  The score would remain 5-2 until the top of the 7th when the Tides scored again with a leadoff walk to Matt Angle followed by singles to Robert Andino and Jeff Salazar, whose hit drove in Angle to give the Tides a 6-2 lead.

Blake Davis’ Grand Slam Home Run in the 2nd Inning powered the Tides to Victory

Britton and relievers Kam Mickolio, Alberto Castillo and Frank Mata all pitched well giving up just the 2 runs on 9 hits walking 2 and striking out 7.  These pitchers all deserved this after the past 6 games where so many of their efforts went unrewarded.  Tides hitters uncorked on the Bulls pitching staff with the 6 runs on 12 hits.  Lou Montanez and Jeff Salazar both doubled for the Tides but it was Blake Davis’ Grand Slam home run that capped a great night for the Tides who broke a 6 game losing streak to the Bulls, a streak that easily could have been at least a series 4-3 or 3-4 split. Zach Britton (3-3 3.09 ERA) got the win for the Tides and Ramon Ortiz (2-4 4.07 ERA) took the loss for the Bulls.

Chris Tillman will pitch tonight in Charlotte against the Knights

The Tides road trip continues tomorrow in Charlotte for a 2 game series against the Knights but as of 10:00 AM today the starting pitchers have not been announced.  Chris Tillman (10-7 3.29 ERA) will start for the Tides going up against Freddy Dolsi (2-6 5.42 ERA) for the Knights.

In personnel moves Scott Moore suffering a partially collapsed lung was taken to hospital on Tuesday night and is now on the 7 Day DL with Blake Davis being activated. In Chicago the Orioles doubled up the White Sox with Brian Matusz getting the win.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Andino’s Errors Costly as Tides Lose to Bulls 9-8

Frank Mata strikes out Desmond Jennings on Sunday night

It was a warm and uncomfortably humid night at the Church of Baseball, Harbor Park Parish.  It was so humid that it seemed that the very air was trying to mug the 5000 of so fans that braved to weather to come to the game.  After a 28 minute delay the game got underway with Tim Bascom facing former Tide Bobby Livingston.

Michael Aubrey doubles

Both Bascom and Livingston held the opposing team scoreless for the first three innings but that did not last as they entered the 4th inning when the game became a see-saw match as each team kept pace with the other.  In that inning Bascom gave up a single to Leslie Anderson which was followed by Angels Chavez’s 9th home run of the year to give the Bulls a 2-0 lead. The Tides got 2 in the bottom of the 4th when Nolan Reimold singled and scored on Lou Montanez’s triple. Montanez then scored on a sacrifice fly by Michael Aubrey.  In the 5th inning Bascom walked J. J. Furmaniak and with two outs gave up a home run to Rocco Baldelli.  The Tides then scored 4 in the 5th inning as with 1 out Scott Moore and Robert Andino singled to put runners on first and second.  Nolan Reimold flied out for the second out but was followed by Montanez who doubled to bring Moore home.  With Michael Aubrey at the plate Livingston threw a wild pitch allowing Andino to score once again tying the game.  Aubrey doubled his 25th of the year to score Montanez and would score himself when Bull’s right fielder made a play right out of Bull Durham and simply missed an easy routine fly ball off the bat of Brandon Snyder for the 4th run of the inning.

Rocco Baldelli doubles off of Alberto Castillo

In the 6th inning the game went glunk for the Tides.  Pat Egan relieved Tim Bascom and gave up a single to the persnickety Angel Chavez who has been a pain to Tides pitchers this series.  However Egan got Omar Luna to ground into a double play and it looked like the Tides would get out of the inning with no damage and the lead.  That did not happen, the next batter Fernando Perez hit a sharp ground ball which was deflected off the glove of Paco Figueroa for an infield hit. Desmond Jennings then hit a routine chopper to Robert Andino who bobbled the ball to put runners on first and second. The very next batter, J.J. Furmaniak hit a similar ball to Andino who this time missed the ball completely appearing not even have his mind in the game took his time to track it down behind 2nd base to allow Perez to score.  This opened the door for the Bulls whose next batter Dioner Navarro singled to left to score Jennings and was followed by Chris Richard who doubled to score Furmaniak and Navarro to give the Bulls an 8-6 lead.

The Tides came back in the bottom of the 6th inning against Bulls reliever Brian Shouse. Jeff Salazar doubled to lead off the inning and was followed by Paco Figueroa who walked. Scott Moore stuck out swinging and was followed by Robert Andino who singled to load the bases.  Shouse then walked Nolan Reimold to score Salazar and narrow the Bulls lead to one run.  Lou Montanez drove in Figueroa on a force out. Shouse walked Michael Aubrey to load the bases. Then controversy happened. Brandon Snyder appeared to draw a walk on a checked swing on a 3-2 count but Bulls catcher Dioner Navarro appealed the call to the 1st Base umpire Stephen Barga who called Snyder out. Snyder ran down to argue the call and was tossed from the game and Bobby Dickerson continued the discussion for several minutes before giving up. Thus at the end of the 6th the score was tied 8-8.

There were no runs scored in the 7th or 8th innings, Frank Mata set the Bulls down in order in the top of the 7th while Shouse retired the Tides giving up a walk to Paco Figueroa.  Mata had trouble in the 8th after getting two outs on a double play loading the bases to bring in Alberto Castillo who struck out Chris Richard swinging.  Joe Bateman replaced Shouse in the 8th allowing a leadoff walk to Andino but retiring Reimold, Montanez and Aubrey in order. Castillo came back out in the 9th to face Rocco Baldelli who doubled and advanced to second on a ground out by Leslie Anderson. He then scored on a sacrifice fly by Angel Chavez before Castillo stuck Omar Luna out swinging to end the inning.  The Tides went down in order facing Jake McGee in the bottom of the 9th and the delayed and slow moving game came to an end with the Tides losing 9-8.

Joe Bateman (6-0 1.81 ERA) got the win for the Bulls and Jake McGee the save, his first and Alberto Castillo got the loss (1-1 4.33 ERA) got the loss. In the end the game came down to Robert Andino’s costly errors which helped the Bulls to 4 unearned runs in the 6th inning.  Andino now has a league leading 28 errors many of which have cost the Tides pitchers runs and the team games. Egan should have left with the lead and Castillo should have been pitching for a save with a decent lead.  Despite his clutch hitting Andino will need to get his head in the defensive game if he hopes to play shortstop in the Major Leagues.  When he is locked on defensively he is excellent but as of now his poor defense is a liability that sometimes cancels out all his excellent work at the plate.  When I first entered the Army a Special Forces Sergeant told me and those with me that there were two things in the Army, “attaboys” and “aw shits” and that it took 2000 attaboys to make up for one aw shit.  Andino now has 28 aw shits this year in the field. I wish him well but his defense needs to improve dramatically to be the kind of asset to a Major League franchise that his obvious talent at the plate would make him.

The teams played today with the Bulls winning again. The article on that game will be separate from this and will likely appear tomorrow.  The Tides travel to Durham for the first two games of a road trip that will take them to Charlotte and Gwinnett before returning home on the 31st for their final home stand of 2010 against the Braves. Troy Patton (7-10, 4.85ERA) will take the hill for Norfolk against Durham right-hander Richard de los Santos (13-5, 3.59 ERA).

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Durham Clinches IL South for 5th Straight Year: Tides Lose 8-6 Thursday & 3-1 Friday

Robert Andino hit his 13th home run in the bottom of the 8th on Thursday in the Tides 8-6 loss to the Bulls

The champagne was flowing in visitor’s clubhouse as the Durham Bulls clinched their 5th straight International League South Division title at Harbor Park. The Bulls who currently are 32 games above 500 have the best record in the League and 14 ½ games up on the second place team the Gwinnett Braves defeated the Norfolk Tides by scores of 8-6 on Thursday and 3-1 on Friday.

Troy Patton had a no-decision in Thursday’s game

The Tides did not make the Bulls final steps to the title easy giving them a run for their money both nights. On Thursday Troy Patton got the start for the Tides pitched well for 4 innings before running into trouble in the 5th inning.  He gave up a run in the 4th and 2 in the 5th before being relieved by Pat Egan with 1 out in the top of the 5th inning.  He left the game with the lead as the Tides has scored 3 runs in the 1st and another in the 2nd to take an early 4-0 lead off Durham starter Darin Downs who was making a spot start for the Bulls.

In the 7th inning the Bulls tied the game.  Egan gave up two singles with one out and was relieved by Frank Mata. Elliott Johnson hit what could have been a double play producing ground ball to Shortstop Robert Andino but Andino misplayed the ball and was slow to get back to the ball.  It was almost as if he forgot that the runner on second was there which allowed that runner, the speedy Desmond Jennings to score the tying run.

In the 8th inning when Mata gave up a leadoff home run to Leslie Anderson and then proceeded to load the bases before walking J.J. Furmaniak to score Angel Chavez.  He was relieved by Cla Meredith who got the second out before Justin Ruggiano hit a grounder with eyes that got through to left for a single to score Omar Luna and Desmond Jennings. He then retired Rocco Baldelli to end the inning with the Bulls now leading 8-4.

The Tides scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning on a two run home run by Robert Andino, his 13th of the year.  Nolan Reimold doubled but was left stranded at second when Scott Moore flied out to right.  Meredith held the Bulls in the 9th inning but the Tides went down in order in the bottom half of the inning thanks to a game ending double play.

The Bulls had 8 runs on 14 hits and committed 2 errors stranding 10 runners and the Tides 6 runs on 14 hits and one costly error by Andino.  The Tides left 11 men on base.  Dale Thayer (3-1 3.40 ERA) the Bulls’ third pitcher of the night got the win and Frank Mata (3-3 4.02 ERA) got a blown save and the loss for the Tides while Winston Abreu got his 19th save of the year.

Desmond Jennings is hit by a pitch from Zach Britton in the 5th inning

On Friday it was a pitchers’ duel as Zach Britton faced off against Ramon Ortiz.  Britton gave up a run in the 1st inning on a single to Chris Richard and a double to Rocco Baldelli and that would be the last run that the Bulls scored until the 7th as Zach allowed just one more hit during the evening. The Tides scored a run in the bottom of the 3rd loading the bases on a walk to Adam Donachie, an infield hit by Paco Figueroa and a walk to Matt Angle. Unfortunately the three of the Tides most productive RBI men, Robert Andino, Jeff Salazar and Nolan Reimold were retired and the Tides scored the one run when Donachie scored on a ground out by Salazar.

Zach Britton gave up only 3 hits but got the loss on Friday

Neither side mustered anything until the 7th inning. Britton retired the first batter that he faced, Dioner Navarro on a ground ball to second. He then walked J.J. Furmaniak and Angel Chavez and was relieved by Jim Hoey. Hoey who has been very good for the Tides since coming up from double-A Bowie appeared to have things under control. However, with the runners now on 2nd and 3rd he issued a wild pitch with Desmond Jennings at the plate.  This allowed Furmaniak to score before Hoey struck out Jennings to end the inning.  In the bottom half of the 8th Nolan Reimold singled and Brandon Snyder walked by Joe Bateman struck out Scott Moore and Lou Montanez to end the threat. In the 9th the Tides brought out closer Dennis Sarfate who gave up an uncharacteristic home run to leadoff hitter Rocco Baldelli before retiring the rest of the Bulls in order. In the 9th it looked like the Tides might come back. With 1 out Paco Figueroa singled and Matt Angle hit a sinking fly ball which looked to be a sure hit possibly one that could get by left fielder Justin Ruggiano but the ball hung up just long enough for Ruggiano to make the play charging in hard from left and throwing to first to double up Figueroa who like most everyone in attendance thought the ball was in for a hit.

The Bulls had 3 runs on 4 hits and an error and the Tides 1 run on 7 hits with no errors. Jake McGee (1-0 0.00 ERA) got the win for the Bulls and Britton (2-3 3.08 ERA) the loss for the Tides.  It was a hard loss as the Tides Britton pitched very well and even the Tides relievers with the exception of the wild pitch by Hoey and the home run allowed by Sarfate pitched well.  The Bulls clinched their 5th straight IL South Title with a record of 79 wins and 47 losses, not only best in the division and best in the League but the best in between the IL and the Pacific Coast League.  They have a .285 team batting average, second best in the IL and the best team ERA (3.45) in the league.  The Tampa Bay Rays, the parent club of the Bulls has one of the premier organizations in baseball. They draft well, develop players well and produce at competitive teams and they build their winning teams without spending huge amounts of money, developing primarily from their own ranks.

Tonight the Tides send Chris Tillman (10-7 3.51 ERA) up against Brian Baker (7-4 3.61 ERA) in game three of this elongated 5 game series.  In personnel news veteran pitcher Andy Mitchell was reactivated by the Tides.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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