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Tides Win Pitcher’s Duel: Hughes Powers Offense

Rhyne Hughes leaving the batters box as he hits his 4th inning home run

The Church of Baseball, Harbor Park Parish has seen its share of slugfests this home stand in which Norfolk and their opponents scored a combined 80 runs saw instead a pitcher’s duel as the Tides defeated the Braves 3-1.  The story for the Tides on a sultry humid Tidewater Wednesday night  was pitching which had been problematic over the home stand with only Troy Patton’s 3 hit blanking of the Buffalo Bisons on Monday being a notable pitching performance. That changed Wednesday night as Armando Gabino, Mike Hinckley, Ross Wolf and Denis Sarfate combined to pitch a 7 hit game giving up only one run to the Gwinnett Braves.

Armando Gabino got his 3rd win of the 2010 campaign

Scoring was sparse last night and there were no crooked numbers on the scoreboard.  In the bottom of the 2nd inning Rhyne Hughes tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Michael Aubrey.  The Tides scored again in the bottom of the 4th inning thanks to Hughes who belted a solo shot over the right field wall.  The Braves got a run in the top of the 5th inning when after retiring the first two batters Gabino hit Braves catcher Clint Sammons with a pitch.  Sammons stole second base and went to third on a single by Matt Young.  Sammons scored on the next at bat when Wes Timmons singed before Feddie Freeman struck out to end the inning.  The Tides final run came in the bottom half of the inning. Michel Hernandez reached on a throwing error by Braves shortstop Brandon Hicks.  Blake Davis grounded into a force out with Hernandez being put out a second base.  Matt Angle grounded out to first base and Davis advanced to second.  Robert Andino who had 5 RBIs in Tuesday’s game then singled to score Davis.  Neither team would score again.

The Braves had 1 run on 7 hits and an error the Tides 3 ruins on 6 hits and no errors.  Armando Gabino (3-0 2.56 ERA) got the win, Denis Sarfate got his 6th save of the year and Tim Gustafson (5-4 5.40 ERA) took the loss for the Braves.  The teams meet tonight at Harbor Park where Tim Bascom making his AAA debut for the Tides will face Chris Resop (4-2 2.10).

See you there.

Padre Steve+

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Another Slugfest at Harbor Park: Tides Defeat Braves 10-9

Robert Andino hits a three run home run in the bottom of the 3rd inning

The Norfolk Tides offense has come alive in a big way since returning to the Church of Baseball, Harbor Park Parish last Friday.  In the five games since their return they have scored 37 runs on 68 hits by far their most productive performance of the season and maybe the past few years.  The Tides are playing like a team with a real sense of purpose now when the team is at bat those in the dugout are up at the dugout railing and have their mind on the game and this is something that I cannot remember seeing in my time attending Tides games.  The even in the games that they have lost in this home stand the offense has scored enough runs to win most any well pitched game. Unfortunately the Tides pitchers have been knocked around a bit but tonight despite falling behind 5-0 in the first inning this now potent offense went to work and produced in a big way led by plucky shortstop Robert Andino.

Robert Andino Doubles down the left field line in the 5th inning to tie the game at 5-5

Tides starter Brandon Erbe got hit hard in the 1st inning giving up 5 runs to the Braves and it looked like that Brandon was not long for the game. However after a visit to the mound by Tides Interim Manager Bobby Dickerson he got himself settled down and completed 5 innings being pulled from the game in the 6th inning after facing one batter.  Jim Miller shut down the Braves in the 6th but in the 7th inning gave up 4 runs on 3 hits and a walk which at that point tied the game.

Josh Bell connects

The Tides as I said were hit hard in the 1st inning and the silence of the Tides fans was deafening it was as if gloom was descending on our fair stadium.  The people who sat next to me in my pew in section 102 began to quietly say that the game was over and that there was no hope.  Having seen the Tides come back from worse deficits this week I told them not to count the Tides out and Padre Steve got it right.  There was something that I could sense in the air that told me that the Tides hitters would not meekly walk away from this scrum and I was right.  Brandon Snyder as he has a number of times this week ignited the Tides offense doubling to drive in Josh Bell with two outs in the bottom of the 2nd inning.  In the 3rd inning Robert Andino hit a three run homer over the left field wall to bring the Tides to within one run.  In the 5th inning the Tides struck again this time with enough force to go ahead of the Braves as the Tides tied together doubles by Paco Figueroa and Robert Andino and a single by Josh Bell.

In the bottom frame of the 6th the Tides scored three more runs when they put together hits with two costly Braves errors to make the score 9-5.  Of course as I mentioned earlier the Braves scored four runs in the top of the 7th however Kam Mickolio after surrendering the hits that plated the batters left aboard by Miller shut the Braves down in the 8th.  In the bottom of the 8th Blake Davis pinch hitting for Paco Figueroa walked with 1 out. He went to third on a single by Matt Angle and scored on a sacrifice fly in foul territory by Robert Andino.  Andino finished the game with a home run, double and 5 RBIs a stellar performance for the Tides Shortstop. Brandon Snyder, Matt Angle and Josh Bell all came up with big hits as the Tides offense continued its romp over opposing pitchers.

Blake Davis avoids the tag at home on Robert Andino’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 8th

Denis Sarfate pitched the 9th to close the game striking out Wes Timmons, Freddie Freeman and Barbaro Canizares in order to gain his 5th save of the season.  Kam Mickolio got a blown save and the win and Brandon Erbe came out with a no-decision after coming back from that disastrous 1st inning to keep the game close until the relief pitchers were ready to come out to save the game.  The “unsave” was unfortunate as many of us in the stands were rooting, hoping and praying for Brandon to get his first win of the season.

The Braves had 9 runs on 12 hits and 3 errors stranding 4 while the Tides had 10 runs on 11 hits and 1 error leaving 5 men on base to grab the win.  Kam Mickolio was the winning pitcher and Corey Gearrin (0-3 4.02 ERA) took the loss.  The teams meet tonight at Harbor Park with Armando Gabino (2-0, 2.73 ERA) scheduled to take the mound for Norfolk against Braves right-hander Tim Gustafson (5-3 5.74 ERA )  See you there.

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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Tides Fall to Knights in Final Game of Set 9-7 despite Bell’s Dingers


Tides 3rd Baseman Josh Bell shown at Harbor Park hit 3 home runs in two games against Charlotte

In front of an early rising crowd of 4996 on a beautiful sunny Carolina morning with temperatures in the high 60s the Norfolk Tides met the Charlotte Knights at Knight’s Stadium in Rock Hill South Carolina Monday in the final game of a four game set.  The Tides had dominated the first three games on outstanding pitching performances by Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta and Brad Bergeson as well as an 18 run attack that featured 8 home runs.  However, on Monday the Tides were outslugged by the Knights who used the long ball effectively to prevent the Tides from completing a series sweep.

Troy Patton got hit hard on Monday against the Knights

Tides starter Troy Patton (1-3 8.00) was hit hard giving up 7 runs on 10 hits including three home runs in 6.1 innings worked. Dayan Viciedo was a nemesis to Troy hitting two home runs and driving in two runs. Patton also gave up 2 doubles in the game before exciting in the top of the 7th inning. Troy was relieved by newly acquired Pedro Viola (0-0 10.80) who surrendered 2 runs on 2 hits and two walks pitching two-thirds of an inning. Tyler Flowers drove in the runs with a triple.  Jim Miller (1-0 5.59) back in a closing role got the Knights out in the 8th surrendering a walk but no runs.   Patton got the loss and Matt Zaleski (3-0 4.13) the win giving up 4 runs on 5 hits including two homers by Josh Bell.  Former Tide Greg Aquino got the save for the Knights, his second of the year taking the Tides down in order in the top of the 9th to secure the win for the Knights.

Scott Moore shown here at Harbor Park doubled twice in the loss

The Knights had pulled out to a 9-4 lead at the top of the 7th but the Tides did not go quietly scoring three runs in the top of the eighth in a rally that unfortunately fell short.  The Tides offense continued where it had left off Sunday afternoon.  Josh Bell led the attack with 2 home runs with 3 RBIs in his biggest game of the season.  Justin Turner, Scott Moore and Michael Aubrey all had doubles for the Tides with Moore getting two of the two baggers driving in a run.

The big story for the Tides was 3rd Baseman Josh Bell who in the last two games has hit 3 home runs and driven in 5 runs.  Bell who came to the Tides after a year split between the Los Angeles Dodgers affiliate Chattanooga Lookouts of the Southern League and Orioles AA Eastern League affiliate Bowie Baysox where he hit .295 with 20 home runs, 35 doubles and 5 triples.  After a slow start Josh appears to be coming around under the tutelage of Tides Hitting Couch Richie Hebner and is now “Bell ringing” as you may  using his bat to make some offensive music and by offensive I mean offensive if you are the Tides opponents.

Overall the Tides hit and run production in coming up. In the four games against the Knights the Tides scored 25 runs on 31 hits including 10 home runs and 7 doubles which means sport fans that if you are mathematically challenged that the Tides hit for extra bases 55% of the time in Charlotte.  The Tides team batting average is still low at .232 but coming up and the slugging percentage has improved to .391.  The Tides 18 home runs for the season have them tied for second in the International League in this category.  Jeff Salazar leads the Tides in the hitting department with a .291 average with 4 home runs 3 doubles and 11 RBIs. On the mound the team ERA has improved to 4.31 and though the Tides still are among the lead leaders in runs and hits allowed many of these runs came in only a few games where the Tides gave up double digits in losses.  Jake Arrieta leads the league in pitching at 2-0 with a 0.36 ERA allowing just one earned run in 25 innings pitched.   The fact is that this means despite the loss and the Tides falling into a three way tie with Charlotte and Gwinnett for second in the International League South that things are beginning to look up for Tides in 2010.

Tonight the Tides are in suburban Atlanta to face the Gwinnett Braves.  The Tides will start Brandon Erbe (0-3 7.98) who is still seeking his first win at the AAA level against Tim Gustafson (0-1 8.64) who gave up 3 runs on 5 hits in 6.1 innings work against the Tides on the 22nd of April.  The weather could be problematic with temperatures in the high 50s, 15 mile an hour winds and a 50% chance of rain.

Alberto Simon was called up to Baltimore

On the personnel side of the house the Orioles optioned relief pitcher Kam Mickolio back to Norfolk and purchased the contract of pitcher Alfredo Simon who has done yeoman’s work for the Tides as a starter and reliever over the first two weeks of the season.  Up in Baltimore the Orioles go for their first home win of the season against the World Champion New York Yankees who are fresh off of their visit to the White House yesterday.  The O’s will pitch Kevin Millwood against the Yankee’s Phil Hughes, more tomorrow.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Patton and Salazar lead Tides over Braves 6-3

Troy Patton, show striking out Gregor Blanco got his first win of the season

The Norfolk Tides got back in the win column on a cool and damp Wednesday evening at Harbor Park.  With the cool temperature and threat of rain the attendance was only 2571 but those in attendance provided good support for the home team. With the exception of some mist and very light rain in the 6th and 7th inning it was actually a beautiful night for a ball game with calm winds and temperatures from the low 60s to mid 50s.

Joey Gathright gets his first of two hits to lead of the 1st inning

After two games where the Tides bats didn’t produce, the Tides hitters gave their pitchers the hitting support that was lacking the past several games.  Troy Patton got back on the winning track going 6 innings giving up 2 runs on 5 hits with 4 strikeouts.   Troy was solid throughout the night and did not lose focus or control after a 4th inning home run by Braves Designated Hitter Freddie Freeman.  The Braves collected an unearned run in the 8th off of Chris George on a walk and then a throwing error by Josh Bell.  Frank Mata came on in the 8th to take over for George and he gave up a wild pitch which scored Matt Young. Mata would get the save shutting down the Braves in the 9th.

Jeff Salazar crosses the plate after his three run  homer in the 3rd

However, tonight’s big story was the Tides offense which when it is good is very good but when it is cold is colder than a hospital morgue. Tonight was a good night for the offense.  The scoring was highlighted by a three run home run by Jeff Salazar in the bottom of the 3rd.  The Tides never trailed and scored additional runs in the 5th and the 8th which were the difference in the game.  Josh Bell and Brandon Snyder both had solid doubles; Snyder broke out of his slump with 2 hits and Bell had 2 hits and 2 RBIs.  Joey Gathright went 2-3 with an RBI and Jeff Salazar went 2-3 with the home run and 3 RBIs.

Brandon Snyder ended his slump with 2 hits including a double

The Tides attack began in the bottom of the 3rd when Joey Gathright got a 2 out single. Robert Andino singled Gathright to third bringing up Salazar. Salazar got down 0-2 but worked the count fouling off a number of pitches before smashing his home run over the right field wall. In the 5th the Tides were led by Blake Davis who played in Norfolk last year and was recently brought up from AA Bowie. Davis scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Joey Gathright. In the bottom of the 8th the Tides added two insurance runs when Robert Andino got aboard with a base on balls. Brandon Snyder doubled to deep right advancing Andino to third. Josh Bell then pounded a double to deep right scoring both Andino and Snyder.

Troy Patton (1-2 6.92) got the win and Frank Mata (S1 1.29) got the save.  For the Braves Ryne Reynoso (0-3 6.60) got the loss.   Tomorrow the teams will close out the series with a 1215 Businessperson’s special.  Brandon Erbe (0-2 7.45) will get the start for the Tides seeking his first AAA win and he will face the Braves Tim Gustafson (0-1 12.27). The weather will be in the mid 70s with partly cloudy skies. I wish I could see you there but work beckons.

On a side note I collected my third foul ball of the season making me 3 balls for 9 games.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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