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Tides Lose Friday 6-2 but Win Handily Saturday against Mud Hens 10-3

Jeff Salazar hit his 10th and 11th home runs on Saturday night

Chris George got roughed up by the Toledo Mud Hens on Friday night at 5th 3rd Field in the second game of a four game set between the Norfolk Tides and the Mud Hens.  Chris gave up 3 runs in the 1st inning on a 3 run homer by Jeff Larish with 2 outs in the inning.  Chris was stung again in the bottom of the 2nd when Scott Sizemore hit a 2 run blast with 2 outs in the bottom frame of that inning.

The Tides got a run in the 1st inning when Matt Angle singled, stole second and advanced to 3rd on a throwing error by Mud Hens catcher Jeff Kunkle.  He scored on a ground ball hit by Robert Andino.  In the second inning the Tides scored again when Nolan Reimold and Michel Hernandez singled and Reimold scored on a ground out by Blake Davis.

With the score 5-2 the Mud Hens picked up another run on George when Jeff Kunkle doubled and scored on an RBI single by Brent Dlugach.  The Tides made the game closer in the top of the 5th inning closing the gap to 6-4.  Matt Angle walked and then erased on a force out when Robert Andino grounded to third.  Jeff Salazar popped out to third for the 2nd out bringing Josh Bell to the plate.  Bell walked and was followed by Michael Aubrey who doubled to score Andino and Bell.

Michel Hernandez went 3 for 4 including a double on Saturday

The rest of the game was about relief pitching. George left the game in the top of the 5th having surrendered 6 runs on 9 hits including 2 home runs in 4 innings work. In those 4 innings he threw 85 pitches.  Mike Hinckley came on in relief pitching the 5th and 6th innings allowing 2 runs but no runs walking none and striking out two.  Alberto Castillo came on in the 7th and pitched two scoreless innings giving up no hits or walks and striking out two.  The Mud Hens relievers were just as effective as the Tides.  Josh Rainwater came into the game in the top of the 6th inning and pitched three scoreless innings allowing 2 hits.  John Sborz closed the game getting his 15th save of the campaign allowing no hits though Robert Andino reached on an error by Scott Sizemore.

Alberto Castillo pitched well in relief on Friday

The game ended with the Tides having 4 runs on 9 hits with two errors and leaving 8 men on base. The Mud Hens had 6 runs on 11 hits and one error also leaving 8 runners on base. Ruddy Lugo (2-3 8.23 ERA) got the win for the Mud Hens while Chris George (2-2 4.28 ERA) got the loss.

On Saturday the Tides bats came alive to give Troy Patton his 5th win of the season, something that Troy had not had much of early in the year. Troy pitched 5 innings allowing 3 runs, only one of which was earned, 6 hits, 2 walks and 2 strike outs. Armando Gabino back in the middle relief role with the return of Brad Bergeson to the Tides came into the game in the top of the 6th inning and remained strong in relief pitching three scoreless innings giving up three hits.  Cla Meredith closed the game for the Tides and for the first time since his arrival shut down the opposing team pitching a one-two-three 9th inning striking out two.

The Tides went to work on Mud Hens pitchers beginning with the starter Lauren Gagnier who they tagged for 6 runs on 9 hits including a 3rd inning home run by Josh Bell, his 8th of the season.

The Mud Hens got out to an early lead scoring on a pair of doubles by Scott Sizemore and Jeff Frazier however they would not score again until the 5th inning when Patton walked Scott Sizemore and then made a throwing error on a force attempt which allowed Jeff Frazier on board.  Jeff Larish doubled to score both Sizemore and Frazier but Patton would pitch out of trouble ending the inning.

The Tides scored early pounding out 4 runs in the top of the 2nd inning against Gagnier. Nolan Reimold doubled with one out and took third on a wild pitch. Michael Aubrey walked and with Robert Andino batting Gagnier threw wild on a pickoff attempt allowing Reimold to score and Aubrey to take 2nd.  Andino struck out swinging and catcher Michel Hernandez singled to score Aubrey and took second on the attempt to get Aubrey at home.  Paco Figueroa singled to score Hernandez and scored on an RBI double by Matt Angle.  Josh Bell hit his 8th home run in the top of the 3rd and made the score 5-1.  In the top of the 6th Hernandez singled with one out and scored on a triple by Paco Figueroa. This sent Gagnier to the showers and brought in Matt Hoffman.  Then the Tides did something that they have not done this year, made the bold attempt to steal home.  Figueroa was out at the plate but the next batter, Matt Angle singled and scored on Jeff Salazar’s 10th home run of the season to make the score 8-3.  In the top of the 8th with Hoffman still pitching Michel Hernandez doubled and Paco Figueroa walked to chase Hoffman from the game and bring on Scott Drucker. Drucker got Matt Angle to ground into a double play giving the Mud Hens hope that they might stop the Tides.  His hopes were dashed when Salazar hit his second home run of the game, his 11th of the season.

At the end of the day it was the Tides wining scoring 10 runs on 14 hits and one error with three home runs leaving 6 men on base.  The Mud Hens scored 3 runs on 9 hits also having an error leaving 9 runners stranded.  Troy Patton (5-7 4.74 ERA) got the win and Gagnier (3-3 3.49 ERA) got the loss. The teams play the final game against each other for the season tonight with Brandon Erbe (0-9 6.03 ERA) going up against Alfredo Figaro (5-4 4.36 ERA) on the hill for the Hens.

In a personnel note Tides outfielder Joey Gathright was reactivated coming off the 7 Day Disabled List.

Until next time.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Tides Rally for 5 Runs in 8th Inning beat Mud Hens 6-3

Ross Wolf  came in relief and held the Mud Hens striking out 5 in 3.1 innings

After being blanked by the Columbus Clippers on Tuesday the Norfolk Tides opened their four game series with the Toledo Mud Hens with a come from behind with at 5th 3rd Stadium in Toledo.  The Tides got out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the 3rd inning when Matt Angle got a bunt in for a hit and took second base on a throwing error by Toledo Pitcher Ryan Ketchner.  He the stole third base on the first pitch by Ketchner to Robert Andino and scored on the next pitch when Andino hit a sacrifice fly to Center Field.

Unfortunately Tides starting pitcher Brad Bergeson making his first appearance for the Tides since being optioned from Baltimore after a dismal performance.  Bergeson who had been successful in 2009 until being injured has not been nearly as effective in the big leagues and was sent down earlier in the year for a tune up with the Tides.  During that stint he won the one game that he started and returned to the Orioles.  Obviously that was what the desire was for Thursday night but Bergeson struggled allowing 3 runs on 5 hits with 2 walks with 3 of the hits and a walk in the 3rd inning using 65 pitches before being pulled out of the game with 2 outs in the 3rd inning.

Mike Hinckley picked up his first win for the Tides

Now behind by a score of 3-1 the Tides brought in Jim Miller to relieve Bergeson.  Miller pitched well going 3.1 innings allowing only 1 hit while striking out 5 Mud Hens.  He was relieved in the 7th inning by Mike Hinckley who put the Hens down in order.In the 8th inning the Tides sent 11 men to the plate as the diamond resembled a merry-go-round of Tides players.  Paco Figueroa led off the inning with an infield hit and followed by Matt Angle who was walked by reliever Daniel Schlereth who had entered the game at the top of the inning.  Robert Andino then singled to load the bases for the Tides. Jeff Salazar reached on a failed force attempt by Mud Hens First Baseman Jeff Frazier which scored Figueroa to make the game a 3-2 game with the bases still loaded.  Josh Bell struck swinging bringing Michael Aubrey to the plate.  After a called strike Schlereth threw four straight balls to walk Aubrey and score Matt Angle to tie the game. The walk was the signal for a new pitcher and Scott Drucker replaced Schlereth. Nolan Reimold who continues to work his way out of the ooze of his slump doubled on a 1-0 count to Left Field driving in Andino and Salazar and giving the Tides a 5-3 lead.  Drucker then intentionally walked Rhyne Hughes to get to weak inning catcher Adam Donachie.  Donachie hit a sacrifice fly to Left to score Aubrey before hitting Paco Figueroa with a pitch to reload the bases before getting Matt Angle to ground out to short to end the inning.

Now with a 6-3 lead the Tides brought in Ross Wolf to pitch the 8th inning and Wolf pitched a scoreless 8th allowing only a single by Casper Wells.  The Tides had 2 runners on with 2 outs in the top half of the 9th inning but did not add any insurance.  This sent the game into the bottom of the 9th where Bobby Dickerson brought in Denis Sarfate allowed a one out walk before striking out Scott Sizemore and Brent Dlugach to end the game.

The Tides had 6 runs on 12 hits and 2 errors leaving 9 men on base.  The Mud Hens had 3 runs on 7 hits with 3 errors and left 8 men stranded.  The wining pitcher was Mike Hinckley (1-3 7.71 ERA) Denis Sarfate got his 9th save.  The Tides and Mud Hens face each other tonight with Chris George on the hill for the Tides facing Rudy Lugo.

In personnel news pitcher Andy Mitchell was placed on the 7 day Disabled List.

Until next time peace,

Padre Steve+

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Tides Pummeled and Silenced 11-0 in Tuesday Thumping by Clippers; Arietta Get’s 2nd ML Win Against Giants

Tim Bascom took his second loss since coming up to the Tides

The Norfolk Tides went into Tuesday hoping for a split with the International League West Division leading Columbus Clippers at Huntington Field on Tuesday afternoon “getaway” game.  Instead they got a taste of the powerful Columbus offensive firepower and pitching.  The Tides sent Tim Bascom to the hill making his second AAA appearance for the Tides against Jeanmar Gomez.  Bascom (0-2 5.40 ERA) went 4.2 innings giving up 4 runs on 8 hits before surrendering the ball to Jim Miller who pitched 1.1 innings giving up a hit but no runs.

Michael Aubrey doubled in a otherwise lackluster night for Tides hitters

Going into the 7th inning the game was still in reach for the Tides when the game got out of hand at the hands of pitchers optioned back to the Tides from the Orioles, neither of which seems to have the mojo to play at AAA much less in the Majors.  Cla Meredith who has spent the better part of the last four years in the majors gave up 2 runs on 3 hits and a walk to bring his ERA up to 17.18 in three innings work for the Tides.  Meredith lasted an inning and was replaced by fellow veteran Alberto Castillo who began the year with high hopes for the Tides and the Orioles but has not produced. On this night Castillo gave up 5 runs on 5 hits including a home run only retiring one batter before being pulled in favor of Mike Hinckley who held the surging Clippers scoreless to complete the 8th inning.  The 35 year old Cuban defector has had a long career as a journeyman but has not found much success at the Major League level despite playing for a number of teams.  One has to admire his desire to play the game but it is very likely that whatever good days he had are behind him this year having a 10.13 ERA in Baltimore and 8.64 ERA in Norfolk.

Jake Arietta won his second Major League start against the Giants

The Tides offense which had enjoyed a fine night on Monday was overwhelmed by the pitching of Gomez and Carlton Smith who combined on a 4 hit shutout.  Only Michael Aubrey had an extra base hit a double while the other Tides hitters managed just three singles.

The Tides had no runs on four hits and one error and left three runners stranded. The Clippers had 11 runs on 18 hits with no errors and left seven runners aboard.  Tim Bascom got the loss while Clippers starter Jeanmar Gomez got the win.  The Tides had Wednesday off and begin a series in Toledo against the powerful Toledo Mud Hens who are in second place in the IL West.  The Tides now stand at 29 wins and 38 losses tied for last in the IL South with the Charlotte nights 11 games behind the division leading Durham Bulls.

The Tides have been penalized this year by injuries and the lack of success by their parent club the Baltimore Orioles.  As was the case last year the Orioles have been forced to call up large numbers of young Tides, in my view before many were ready for the Majors to fill in the gaps left by injuries and suffered by the Orioles.  This was supposed to be the breakout year where the Orioles started achieving to their potential, but relying potential, especially unfulfilled and unrealized potential in lieu of solid proven players is a recipe for disaster for not only does a team lose and get used to losing but the young players, the impressionable players become more demoralized than veterans.  The Orioles not only need a star quality manager but they need to shake up the 40 man roster and soon.

However there was something to cheer about for Orioles fans as last night former Norfolk Tides starting pitcher Jake Arietta pitched a 3 hitter through 7 innings against the Giants in San Francisco to notch his second Major League win in as many appearances.  Having gotten to know Jake a bit in Norfolk I wish him all the best as he continues with the Orioles.

Anyway more Tides and Orioles news tomorrow, and later in the week the Deity Herself permitting I will spend some time analyzing the plight of the Orioles and what I would do if I was Andy McPhail.

Until then peace and don’t forget to read Meeting Jesus and the Team at 7-11 if you have an interest in a rather different view of faith and baseball.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Blown Call by Umpire Jim Joyce ends Armando Galarraga’s Perfect Game: It is time for the “Eye in the Sky”

Armando Galarraga pitching for Toledo at Harbor Park against the Tides

On one of the most glaring bad calls that I can remember Umpire Jim Joyce ended the perfect game attempt of Detroit Tiger pitcher Armando Galarraga at what appeared to be the 27th out at first base. As the good people at ESPN switched the coverage from the Reds and Cardinals to the game between the Tigers and the Cleveland Indians I watched in anticipation of what should have been the third perfect game of the 2010 season, a feat that has never happened in the history of Major League Baseball.

See the play here: http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=8616789

With two outs in the top of the 9th and having a 3-0 lead Jason Donald hit a 0-2 slider to Tigers First Baseman Miguel Cabrera who tossed to Galarraga as he covered first. As Galarraga touched the base well ahead of Donald Joyce called the runner safe causing an almost audible collective gasp from those present and those watching on television like me.  Tigers Manager Jim Leyland immediately argued the call to no avail and an incredulous Galarraga was left to complete a one hitter.

Now perfect games get broken up all the time, usually to a hit, error or walk which allows the 28th batter to come to the plate regardless of what inning it occurs. Everyone in baseball is disappointed when a perfect game is broken up in the 9th inning, but usually because it occurs in the context of normal baseball plays it does not have the impact that this call had.

Had the call been correct Galarraga would have joined Dallas Braden of the Athletics and Roy Halliday to throw a perfect game this season, a season that is turning out to be the year of the return of the pitcher.  Galarraga who just weeks ago was pitching for AAA Toledo should have had the perfect game.  I am sure that this will renew calls for the expanded use of replay but however much this appeals my overwhelming desire to see justice done for Galarraga the ideas that I have heard don’t seem to work. My idea during last year’s horrible umpiring of the playoffs was to have an umpire in the stadium with replay in front of him and if something was an obvious blown call have the immediate opportunity to review or reverse the call and notify the umpiring crew of his decision. This would have been an opportune time for such a mechanism.  Of course some would argue against this as I would have even up until last year.

Jim Joyce is a 22 year veteran of the Major League Baseball umpire corps. He is well regarded. He has given good service to the game and umpired in the playoffs and the World Series but he will now be remembered more for this than all the rest of his career.  However with calls like this, together with the calls made in the 2009 playoff season and the rash of questionable ejections issued on what seems like an almost nightly basis by umpires for things that shouldn’t warrant an ejection I am scratching my head in bewilderment as to what to do to see better umpired games.

The fact is now that some umpires are becoming either through poor calls or confrontations with players and manager a distraction to the game. They are becoming the center of attention and certainly have no understanding of what umpiring legend Bill Klemm said “The best umpired game is the game in which the fans cannot recall the umpires who worked it.” Fans around the country will remember Jim Joyce as the umpire that blew the call that robbed a pitcher, a team and baseball fans around the country of a perfect game.

Joyce apologized saying “I just cost that kid a perfect game…it was the biggest call in my career.” but Joyce according to his post game statement was sure that Donald was safe and that it was not close until he saw the replay, it was a demonstration that sometimes even outstanding umpires get it wrong and that it was an honest mistake as terrible as it was.

Now to be fair to Joyce he did apologize and he meant it of that I am sure. He seems to have more class than some of the umpires that have made bad calls and not taken the hit after the game by admitting that they were wrong and also those that have seemed to be looking to be in the spotlight by throwing out players and managers for the most ludicrous reasons.  I know that Joyce made a mistake and he knows it and from what I see from Jim Leyland and Armando Galarraga’s statements after the game to they know that Joyce knows and is sorry for the call. Galarraga said afterward:

“I mean, a lot of respect because he [Joyce] feels so bad. He really feels bad, he probably feels more bad than me… everybody’s human… I understand, and I give the guy a lot of credit for saying, hey I really need to talk to you, to say I’m sorry. And that’s not happen really, the umpire apologize.”

All the people involved in the incident, Galarraga, Leyland and Joyce handed the situation with grace and dignity. There was no acrimony at the end of the game which is one of the things that makes baseball such a great game.

It can’t be taken back now but had there been a “eye in the sky” umpire as I suggest the call would have been reversed, everyone would have forgotten the bad call and Galarraga would have his perfect game. It would have protected Joyce and preserved the integrity of the game. I feel bad for both Galarraga and Joyce; they are victims of a system that has refused to adapt a very simple remedy to prevent such occurrences.  It is time to use an umpire to be an “eye in the sky” to get these things right. It could be done with little interruption to the game and without the absurd spectacle of the NFL’s replay system. The institution of this would help maintain the integrity of the game and it should be voted on an approved by MLB at the earliest opportunity.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Northern Road Trip gets Frosty: Cold Tides Lose 5-3 and 4-0 in Buffalo

Mike Hessman in his Toledo Mud Hens uniform the all time Minor League Home Run King victimized Chris Tillman and Jake Arietta (James Venes photo 2007)

The Norfolk Tides have dropped their last four consecutive games on their northern road trip. After the last two games of their series against Syracuse including the heartbreaking 2-1 loss on Thursday the Tides have lost two more this time to the Buffalo Bisons the AAA affiliate of the Tides former parent club the New York Mets.  With cool weather and blustery winds the two teams faced off at Coca Cola Field and the Bisons took both Friday and Saturday’s games with Mike Hessman the all time minor league home run king victimizing Chris Tillman and Jake Arietta for his 11th and 12th home runs of the season.

On Friday night in front of 5729 with temperatures in the 50s and winds blowing 17 miles an hour the Tides started Chris Tillman (3-4 3.83) who as of late has done quite well.  Friday was a different matter. Tillman allowed 5 runs 4 of which were earned runs on 8 hits including two home runs in six innings work.  The damage started in the third inning when Tillman allowed a single to Alex Cintron who went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ruben Tejada. Tillman struck out Jason Pridie but then balked which allowed Pridie to advance to third. Jesus Feliciano then bunted for a single to score Pridie before Tillman got out of the inning getting Mike Jacobs to fly out to right fielder Blake Davis.

The Bisons added three more in the 4th inning beginning with Mike Hessman hitting a home run to left to lead off the inning.  Valentino Pascucci then popped out and Tillman walked Russ Adams.  J R House a former member of the Tides from 2007 who was just signed by the Mets to a minor league contract after playing with the Astros and the Astros organization singled Adams to second.  Alex Cintron grounded to Brandon Snyder at first which Snyder misplayed allowing Adams to score and House to advance to third. Meanwhile Cintron attempted to stretch his good fortune but was thrown out at second by right fielder Blake Davis who had fielded the ball after it got away from Snyder.  Ruben Tejada then singled to score House before Tillman retired Jason Pridie on a pop up to Justin Turner at second.

The Tides came back to score 3 runs in the top of the 5th.  Blake Davis singled to center and went to second on a passed ball. Robert Andino grounded out to second moving Davis to third. Catcher Michel Hernandez grounded out for the second out and Davis had to remain at third.  With two out Joey Gathright reached on an error by second baseman Alex Cintron and Davis scored.  Gathright then stole second and was driven in by Justin Turner who singled to center. Jeff Salazar then singled to right and Turner went to third. Josh Bell singled to score Turner before Nolan Reimold in his first game with the Tides since being optioned by Baltimore to Norfolk grounded into a force play to end the inning.

It seemed that the Tides were back in the game and that their dormant bats were alive again.  However in the bottom of the 6th inning Valentino Pascucci hit a leadoff home run to increase the lead to 5-3.  This was not an insurmountable lead but the Tides managed just one more hit the rest of the game going down in order in the 7th and 8th innings and only managing the hit, a single by pinch hitter Michael Aubrey  with two outs in the top of the 9th.

In the end the Tides had 3 runs on 9 hits and allowed an error the Bisons 5 runs on 11 hits and 1 error. Tillman (3-4 3.83) got the loss and knuckleballer R A Dickey (4-2 2.23) got the win for the Bisons.

The Tides fared worse on Saturday.  Today the Tides would scatter just four hits and only get one runner into scoring position and were shut out by the Bisons 4-0.  Jake Arietta (3-2 2.20) took the hill for the Tides going up against Pat Misch (3-0 3.30). Arietta gave up a run in the 1st inning when Mike Hessman who had victimized Chris Tillman on Friday singled to drive in Jesus Feliciano. The Bisons scored another run in the bottom of the 2nd inning after Arietta walked Andy Green to start the inning and Green advanced to third on a single by Ruben Tejada. He would score on a ground ball by Jason Pridie.  In the bottom of the third the Bisons scored again when Mike Hessman homered to lead off the inning. Hessman was drafted by the Braves in 1996 and has played 15 years in the minors 9 years at the AAA level getting to the majors in only four seasons for a total of 77 games hitting 13 home runs.  Hessman is interesting, he played on the 2008 Bronze Medal US Olympic team has hit 323 home runs in the minor leagues and holds the minor league record for home runs.  The shot in the 3rd inning was his 12th of this season.

The Bisons added a final run in the bottom of the 6th inning when Andy Green homered off Arietta.  Even though Pedro Viola and Denis Sarfate held the Bisons to no more runs once again the Tides could manage no offense and they fell to the Bisons by the score of 4-0.  The Tides final line was 0 runs on 4 hits with one error, the Bisons 4 runs on 5 hits and no errors.  With the loss the Tides drop to 15-22 having lost five of the first six games of the northern road trip and into the cellar of the IL South.  The Tides and Bisons will square off Sunday afternoon. The pitchers are not announced but the number three man in the Tides rotation Chris George was placed on the seven day DL which could move Troy Patton up in the rotation as the Tides have no real starters in the bullpen.  Short reliever Jim Miller was brought back up from Aberdeen.

Up in Baltimore the Orioles who had won their last three games relearned the hard lesson that you have to get 27 outs to win the game. The O’s blew a 2-0 lead to the Cleveland Indians in the 9th inning with Alfredo Simon and Cla Meredith each allowing four runs in an 8 run rally once again denying Brian Matusz his first win of the season.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides Fall to Chiefs 4-3 in Syracuse

Jake Arietta pitched 7 innings but got a no decision

The Norfolk Tides travelled north to Syracuse on faced the Chiefs in the opening game of a four game series at Alliance Bank Field.  The Chiefs who are the AAA affiliate of the Washington Nationals lead the North Division of the International League with a record of 18-11 and are playing very good ball.  Even more surprising for the Nationals organization is that the Nationals have an 18-14 record and sit in second place in the NL East trailing the division leading Philadelphia Phillies by two games.

In front of a crowd of 3612 fans who braved temperatures that fell into the 40s as the night wore on and variable winds of 11 miles an hour the teams took the field.  Although it was cold the weather was nowhere near as bad as the weekend where two games between the Chiefs and the Gwinnett Braves were postponed due to winter weather including snow on Sunday. The Tides started Jake Arietta who faced Sharion Martis of the Chiefs. Arietta (3-1 1.67) pitched seven innings allowing 2 earned ruins on 4 hits.  He gave up an unearned run in the bottom of the 4th inning when after walking Josh Whitesell and then on a 1-1 count hit Mike Morris.  This brought up Pete Orr who bunted to Arietta who fielded the ball the throw was late to First Baseman Brandon Snyder but also wild which allowed Whitesell to score on the play.  Orr was given a hit on the play but Arietta the error as the throw enabled Whitesell to score and Orr to advance to second.

The Tides scored one run in the top of the 4th inning when Corey Patterson continued his ferocious hitting by launching a triple to right field and scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Josh Bell his 20th RBI of the season.  The Tides would score again and tie the game in the 6th inning.  Corey Patterson walked to lead off the inning and was followed by Josh Bell who popped up to third baseman Pete Orr in foul territory.  Scott Moore then singled and Patterson was held at second base.  To the plate came Brandon Snyder who had a key role in the Tides win against the Mud Hens on Sunday. Brandon took a called strike from Martis and then fouled tow pitches off before taking ball one.  With a 2-1 count Snyder tripled to right to bring both Patterson and Moore home to tie the score.  Justin Turner struck out swinging and when the ball got away from catcher Carlos Maldonado Snyder attempted top come home. Maldonado threw to relief pitcher Drew Storen who tagged Snyder out at the plate to end the inning.

Brandon Snider had 2 2 RBI Triple in the top of the 6th inning

The game remained knotted at 3 until the bottom of the 8th inning. Arietta left at the end of the 7th and was relieved by Ross Wolf who has been very effective in relief this year.  Wolf faced Kevin Mensch who after working the count to 2-2 by fouling off four pitches took the seventh pitch and doubled to center.  Josh Whitesell singled to right fielder Michael Aubrey scoring Mensch.  Wolf would work his way out of the inning but the damage was done and the Tides were unable to score in the 9th inning despite a single by Corey Patterson and the Chiefs took game one by a score of 4-2.

Arietta went seven innings and got a no decision giving up 2 earned runs on 4 hits. His problem came due to control; he gave up five walks and hit one batter as well as the throwing error that cost the run in the 4th inning.  Ross Wolf (0-2 2.89)  got the loss in relief giving up one run on two hits.  Chiefs reliever Ron Villone (1-1 9.53) got the win and Joel Peralta (0-0 S8) got his eighth save of the season.  The teams meet again on Tuesday with Chris George (1-1 4.50) getting the start for the Tides and Chuck James (2-0 4.85) taking the hill at home for the Chiefs.

The Tides made a number of personnel moves over the weekend sending pitcher Jim Miller and catcher Steve Lerud to Baltimore’s short season “A” team the Aberdeen Ironbirds, and activating pitcher Denis Sarfate and catcher Michel Hernandez from the disabled list.  Pitcher Jim Johnson who had been sent down from the Orioles last week was placed on the 7 day disabled list for elbow pain.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Tides Lose Saturday 10-3 but Tillman Dominates Toledo on Sunday Tides Win 4-1

Corey Patterson Smacked 3 doubles in Saturday’s loss

The Norfolk Tides won their first series of the season taking three of four at Harbor Park from the Toledo Mud Hens.  After taking the first game of the series in a slugfest 12-7 on Thursday night, the Tides and Toledo battled into the 12th inning on Friday with the Tides getting a 3-2 win on Josh Bell’s walk off home run with no outs in the bottom of the 12th.

Brandon Erbe took his 6th loss on Saturday

On Saturday in front of 6795 fans in warm and windy weather it would turn out to be a different sort of ball game as the Mud Hens got to Tides starting pitcher Brandon Erbe (0-6 7.20) early and often hitting the young pitcher hard for 6 runs on 9 hits in 5.2 innings. After driving Erbe from the game they continued on getting Pedro Viola for 2 runs on 3 hits in 1.1 innings.  They scored another unearned run in the 8th and another earned run off of Kam Mickolio in the 9th.  The Mud Hens pounded out 13 hits and were helped by 6 walks and a hit batsman from Tides pitchers and two errors one of which contributed to the run in the 8th inning. Erbe was pasted with the Mud Hens hitting him for 3 home runs, two by Clete Thomas and two doubles. Although Viola only gave up three hits all went for extra bases two doubles and a triple.

On the offensive side the Tides got 11 hits but only put them together to produce runs in the 1st and the 7th innings.  In the first Robert Andino led off with a double, Corey Patterson walked and Josh Bell singled to load the bases. Scott Moore sacrificed Andino home for the Tides first run.  In the 2nd inning they put the first two men on base but could not get them to the plate. In the 3rd inning Corey Patterson doubled to lead off the inning but was left on base. In the 4th inning Blake Davis tripled with one out and was left on base.  In the 7th things started to turn around Robert Andino singled and with one out Corey Patterson nailed his second double of the night to drive him home. Patterson advanced to second on a ground out by Josh Bell and scored on a single by Scott Moore before Michael Aubrey grounded out to end the inning.  The Tides went down in order in the 8th and with two outs in the 9th Corey Patterson hit his third double of the night but was left on base.

In all the Tides only brought home 2 of 14 runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base. Erbe got the loss his sixth loss of the year.  Alfedo Figaro (4-1 2.55) got the win for Toledo.

Chris Tillman got his third win with a 4 hit 10 strikeout performance on Sunday

On Sunday Chris Tillman got the start for the Tides and while not quite as sharp as his no hitter he was still very much in control of this game pitching seven innings giving up only 1 run on 4 hits while striking out 10. The run came on a 7th inning home run by Jeff Larish.  Alberto Castillo came on in the 8th and allowed a single and two walks before being pulled for Frank Mata.  Mata stuck out Danny Worth and got Larish to ground out to end the inning stranding all three Toledo runners.  Mata came back out in the 9th and though walking Clete Thomas with two outs then stuck out Caspar Wells to end the game and get his 5th save.

Brandon Snyder blasting his 2nd home run of the season in the 5th inning

The Tides got their first run in the 1st inning when Robert Andino walked to lead off the inning and advanced to second on an excellent sacrifice bunt by Joey Gathright. Corey Patterson singled Andino to third and Josh Bell grounded out to score Andino.  The score would remain 1-0 until the 5th inning when Brandon Snyder ended his drought by launching a home run way over the deep left center field wall to extend the Tides lead to 2-0.  In the 6th the Tides added another run. Joey Gathright singled to lead off the inning and went to second on a missed forced attempt when Will Rhymes and Brent Dlugach could not complete the play Rhymes first bobbling the ball and then Dlugach missing the toss from Rhymes.  Josh Bell hit a sacrifice fly to move Gathright to third.  Gathright scored when Scott Moore hit a sacrifice fly to center.  Toledo then got its only run on Larish’s home run in the top of the 7th.  In the bottom of the 7th the Tides added their final run as Brandon Snyder singled and went to second on a ground out by Blake Davis.  Snyder scored on a single by Robert Andino.

Frank Mata got his 5th save

The game ended with the Tides on top with a final score of 4-1.  The Tides have had 4 runs on 6 hits and no errors leaving 5 men on base while the Mud Hens had 1 run on 5 hits and 2 errors with 7 left on base. Chris Tillman (3-3 3.49) got the win and Frank Mata (0-0 S5 1.23) got the save.  Toledo starter Ryan Ketchner (0-1 2.77) got the loss.

The Tides are now 14 and 17 and in third place in the International League South 5 games behind the Durham Bulls. The Tides departed today on an eight game road trip to Syracuse and Buffalo.  Syracuse could be interesting as the Chiefs and the visiting Gwinnett Braves were snowed out today. The Tides return to Harbor Park on the 18th to face the Pawtucket Red Sox.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Tides Win on Bell’s 12th Inning Walk-Off Home Run

Troy Patton pitched 6.2 innings allowing 2 runs on 5 hits but got a no-decision

Josh Bell did something that has seldom happened at Harbor Park.  It was not the walk off home run but it was the feat of having a home run in three consecutive games in a ballpark that is a pitcher’s paradise and a power hitter’s nightmare.  Harbor Park opened in 1993 when the Norfolk Tides were the AAA affiliate of the New York Mets.  The dimensions of the park are very similar to the Mets’ old home Shea Stadium.  The left field line 330 feet, right field 318, and dead center 410 feet.  In fact not very many of today’s Major League parks have as deep dimensions as the home of the Norfolk Tides.  Not only is it a big yard but the prevailing winds during the season also mitigate against a lot of home runs as does the air which often is heavy with humidity.  The winds usually come off the East Fork of the Elizabeth River and blow in knocking down balls hit to right or right center.  Typically the leading Tides home run leader since the team has moved to Harbor Park in 1993 hits an average 16 home runs a season and of course many of those come in other parks.  By contrast the Durham Bulls have averaged over 25 home runs a season since coming into the International League in 1997 the same is true of the Pawtucket Red Sox who have been in the International League since 1993 and the Toledo Mud Hens during the same period average 26. The Buffalo Bisons average 16 per season for their leading home run hitter over the same time period but face some of the worst weather in the league.  The truth is that Harbor Park for its beauty as a ballpark is a pitcher’s paradise and hitter’s nightmare all of which sets the stage for the story of Friday evening’s game between the Tides and the Mud Hens.

Alberto Castillo made his first appearance since returning from Baltimore

With warm and windy conditions in front of a crowd of 5943 the Tides and the Toledo Mud Hens met for the second game of a four game series.  This game was dominated by the pitchers and it was a long night for both teams because of how well the pitchers worked.  Prior to this game only two teams in the International League had not played an extra inning game and both were on the field Friday. I guess it was destiny that the game would go extra innings how could it not? In 12 innings the two teams pitchers allowed a combined 5 runs only 4 of which were earned runs.

Daniel Schlereth after the wild pitch that allowed Michael Aubry to score

After a scoreless first inning the Mud Hens took a one nothing lead in the top of the second when Max Leon singled to score Jeff Frazier. They extended it to 2-0 in the top of the third when Jeff Frazier singled to drive in Brent Dlugach but after that would manage just three more hits as Troy Patton, Ross Wolf, Frank Mata, Alberto Castillo and Jim Miller shut down a potent Toledo line up allowing no extra base hits.

The Tides offensive production also lagged as compared to the previous two outings where they scored a dozen runs per game.  Friday however the Tides hitters were contained by the Toledo pitchers who scattered 9 hits in the 12 innings.  The Tides got on the board in bottom of the 3rd inning when Josh Bell singled to drive in Robert Andino.  The score would remain 2-1 until the bottom of the 6th inning.  Michael Aubrey singled to lead off the inning and then Brandon Snyder stuck out swinging.  The Mud Hens then took out starter Enrique Gonzalez bringing in Daniel Schlereth in relief.  With Blake Davis at the plate Mud Hens catcher Angel Flores allowed a passed ball which allowed Aubrey to take second Troy Patton the Tides starter allowed two walks which placed runners on second and third.  Ross Wolf came on in relief and on his first pitch got Brent Dlugach to pop out to second.  The Tides would have a runner on second in both the 8th and 10th innings bit were unable to bring the runner home.  In the 11th the Tides threatened again. Blake Davis singled and advanced to second on a very well executed sacrifice bunt by Adam Donachie.  Robert Andino hit an infield single which did not advance Davis.  Joey Gathright grounded out to advance Davis to third and Andino to second.  Corey Patterson the grounded out sharply and the 11th inning ended with the teams still tied at two.

Tides players mob Josh Bell after his walk off home run

Jim Miller came on in the 12th inning in relief of Alberto Castillo who in his first appearance at Norfolk since he was optioned back to the team by the Orioles when Koji Uehara completed his rehab work. Miller put the Mud Hens down in order striking out Diek Scram, getting Angel Flores to pop out in foul territory to Adam Donachie and retiring Will Rhymes on a line drive to left fielder Joey Gathright.

In the bottom of the 12th the Mud Hens sent in Jay Sborz to pitch.  The first batter that Sborz faced was Josh Bell who had homered in his last two games at Harbor Park.  Bell slammed the ball to deep center and it kept going out of the park. As Bell crossed the plate he was mobbed by his teammates.

Jim Miller got the win and Sborz the loss. The Mud Hens had 2 runs on 9 hits with no errors with 8 men left on base. The Tides 3 runs on 9 hits and no errors with 13 left on base.

The teams met again Saturday night but that article will be posted sometime later Sunday.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mothers out there!

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Tides Hit Parade Continues: Big Hits Power Team over Mud Hens 12-7

Josh Bell smashes a three run homer in the 1st inning

And after a drought the hits came and with them the runs and with them the wins.  The Norfolk Tides appear to have snapped out of their hitting funk and like a like a battleship are now plowing through the waves and blasting whatever appears on their radar.  In the past two games, actually the past 16 innings the Norfolk Tides have scored 24 runs on 25 hits.

Justin Turner slams a 3 run double

After a bad slump where it seemed nothing went right offensively the Tides have managed to put hits together and get the all important big hits to break the backs of the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees and the Toledo Mud Hens in back to back 12 run offensive displays that featured 6 home runs.

Scott Moore safe sliding into home after Justin Turner’s  3 RBI double

After taking their first day off since the season began the Tides following the thrashing that they gave the Yankees the team came back and on what was an initially a warm and humid night pounded the Mud Hens with another ferocious offensive display.  The Tides wasted no time in putting runs on the board.  Following a ground out by Robert Andino grounded out to short and the avalanche began and the Tides began to light up the Hens like a Kenny Rogers Roaster on a rotisserie.  Joey Gathright who changed his number from 10 to 7 in the classic baseball superstition of doing anything to break a slump bunted for a single.  Corey Patterson singled to left to move Gathright to second and up came Josh Bell who is rapidly becoming a major hitting threat in the IL south.   Bell who had three home runs in Charlotte and has continued making key hits during this home stand hammered the second pitch by Toledo starter Armando Galarraga over the right field wall to give the Tides a three run 1st inning lead.

Chris George threw 5 strong innings but got a no decsion

With the early lead Tides starter Chris George went to work setting the Mud Hens down in order in the 1st and 2nd innings and allowing a single in the 3rd before working a pick off play to cut down the runner attempting to steal 2nd.

The Tides struck again with another crooked score in the 3rd inning.  With one out Joey Gathright singled on an infield hit to second.  Corey Patterson struck out swinging and the Galarraga gave up walks to Josh Bell and Scott Moore.  This brought Justin Turner to the plate and Turner doubled on a deep fly ball to center field which drove in all three Tides base runners.  Chris George went back on the mound and after getting the first two Mud Hens runners off base with a double play gave up two runs on two hits.  In the bottom of the 4th Michael Aubrey took a one ball one strike pitch from Galarraga and pounded it for a lead off home run.  George was tapped for 3 runs in the top of the 5th with two the result of an error by right fielder Michael Aubrey which occurred on a routine fly with two outs.

Michael Aubrey slams a solo shot in the 4th inning

Toledo sent Robby Weinhardt to the mound in relief of Galarraga in the 5th and the Tides sent Armando Gabino to relieve Chris George in the 6th. Both Weinhardt and Gabino pitched scoreless innings until Weinhardt came out in the 7th and Gabino in the 8th.  Fien pitched a score 7th and was relieved in the bottom of the 8th by Jason Waddell.

The Tides sent the left hander Pedro Viola in to relieve Gabino in the top of the 8th.  Viola walked the left handed batter Jeff Larish and was pulled by Manager Gary Allenson for the big right hander Kam Mickolio.  Mickolio has struggled this year especially after his return from Baltimore.  Jeff Frazier doubled off of Mickolio and then the big man walked Casper Wells to load the bases with no outs.  Clete Thomas grounded into a force play to score Jeff Larish.  Thomas then stole second and advanced to third on a single by Robinzon Diaz which scored Frazier.  Mickolio was able to retire the next two batters end the inning but not before the damage had been done and the game was tied 7-7.

The Tides did not take this lying down exploding for 5 runs in the bottom of the 8th.  With Jason Waddell now on the mound Corey Paterson singled to start the inning.  Josh Bell flied out to right but Patterson took second.  Scott Moore doubled to bring Patterson home and then Waddell walked Justin Turner and Blake Davis replaced Scott Moore as a pinch runner at second.  Brandon Snyder walked to load the bases.  With one out Michael Aubrey hit a sacrifice fly on which Davis scored, Justin Turner advanced to third and Brandon Snyder took second on a throwing error by center fielder Caspar Wells.  Adam Donachie walked to load the bases yet again.  Robert Andino then split the right center gap and doubled to score both Turner and Snyder.  Finally Joey Gathright grounded out to end the inning.

Justin Turner and Brandon Snyder already across and Adam Donachie coming home on Robert Andino’s 3 RBI double in the bottom of the 8th

Jim Miller came in with a five run lead in a non-save situation.  He allowed two base hits but surrendered no runs and the Tides were able to celebrate with another win in which they scored 12 runs.  Kam Mickolio got a blown save but the win while Chris George got the no-decision on a game that save for two out error in the top of the 5th the blown save by Mickolio that he should have won.  Jason Waddell got the loss for Toledo.

Jim Miller closes the deal Tides win 12-7

The teams will meet again tonight at Harbor Park where Toledo’s Enrique Gonzalez will match up against Troy Patton of the Tides.  As for other news and notes Koji Uehara ended his rehab and was promoted to Baltimore and Alberto Castillo optioned back to Norfolk.  The Orioles defeated the Twins in their first appearance at Target Field by a score of 2-0 with Brad Bergeson pitching 6 scoreless innings for his second win of the season. Tonight’s Orioles and Twins game has been postponed due to rain and will be made up in a double header on Saturday.

Peace and see you at the ball park.

Padre Steve+

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Tides Pound Yankees 12-4 at Harbor Park

Jake Arrieta got his 3rd win of the season on Tuesday against the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees

The big guns of the Norfolk Tides finally opened fire at Harbor Park on a cloudy, warm and humid Tuesday afternoon at Harbor Park and left the pitching staff of the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees in shambles.  4541 fans came out for this business person’s special which began at 1215 and the Tides fans among them went away very satisfied as the Tides pounded out 12 runs on 16 hits and committed no errors to split the series with the Yankees.

Scott Moore hit his 3rd home run of the season

Tuesday was a far different affair than the previous three games against the Yankees where in 27 innings the team managed just 5 runs and had no home runs.  Jake Arrieta was not as sharp as he has been but still picked up the win going five innings giving up 2 runs on 2 hits but surrendering five walks to the Yankees.  Yankees starter Zack McAllister went just 3 innings and was tagged for 7 runs on 9 hits including 2 home runs while reliever Amaury Sanit fared little better giving up 5 runs on 5 hits including 2 home runs in two innings work.

Adam Donachie had key hits including a bunt single and a RBI double

The Tides offensive barrage began in the 1st inning when leadoff batter Robert Andino hit the fourth pitch of the game over the left field wall off of Zack McAllister.  In the second inning the Tides went back to work.  Corey Patterson who went four for four on Monday connected and doubled to right. He was followed by Scott Moore who homered to right field getting down in the count 0-2.  The Tides threatened more in the inning as Michael Aubrey came to the plate and singled and Adam Donachie was safe on a force attempt on a throwing error by McAllister.  Blake Davis flied out to center and then on an unusual play hit a fly ball to right which Yankees Right Fielder David Winfree caught and threw back in to McAllister.  On the play Aubrey had advanced to third but was called out when the Yankees claimed that he had tagged too soon and McAllister threw to Eduardo Nunez for the double play.

Josh Bell hit his 4th home run of the season

After a scoreless 3rd inning the Yankees went quietly in the top of the fourth.  It was then that the Tides hits blitzed McAllister and Sanit with a fearsome hitting attack.  Scott Moore and Michael Aubrey both singled to put runners on first and second with no outs.  Adam Donachie then bunted successfully to load the bases.  Up came Blake Davis who doubled to left scoring Moore and Aubrey.  This ended McAllister’s day and Amuary Sanit (1-0 5.54) got the call to try to stop the Tides barrage.  Like McAllister he faced Robert Andino as his first batter and Andino wasted no time whatsoever blasting the first pitch over the left center field wall top clear the bases.  Joey Gathright grounded out and the Yankees must have felt that the worst was over.  However that would not be the case.  Jeff Salazar singled and was driven home when Josh Bell hitting from the left side of the plate hit his first Harbor Park home run taking the first pitch from Sanit to the opposite field over the left field wall.  Corey Patterson grounded out and with no one on base and two outs the Yankees found that the Tides were not finished.  Sanit walked Scott Moore on four pitches and was followed by Michael Aubrey who doubled to score Moore.  Adam Donachie doubled to right on the first pitch delivered by Sanit to score Aubrey to make the score 12-0.  At long last following a wild pitch which allowed Donachie to take third Sanit was able to get out of the inning by striking out Blake Davis.

Robert Andino hit his 3rd and 4th home runs of the season Tuesday

The Yankees got two runs back in the top of the 5th inning as Arrieta began to have some control problems. Jake walked former Tides Catcher Robby Hammock and then former Tides Catcher Chad Moeller singled.  Hammock had been released by the Orioles at the end of last season and Moeller during spring training and both were signed to minor league contracts by the Yankees.  Kevin Russo walked to load the bases and the Yankees got their first run when Arrieta walked Reegie Corona scoring Hammock. Edaurdo Nunez then grounded into a force out which scored Moeller before Arrieta got Juan Miranda to hit into a 5-4-3 double play.

Michael Aubrey went 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI

Ross Wolf (0-0 2.76) came in at the top of the 6th inning to relieve Arrieta who had made 92 pitches. Wolf sent the Yankees down in order in the 6th and finally the Yankees were able to put a lid on the Tides offensive juggernaut although the Tides had another big scoring opportunity in the bottom of the 6th when Zack Segovia (1-1 7.71) who had come on in relief of Sanit hit Josh Bell, gave up a single to Corey Patterson and had Scott Moore reach on a throwing error by Eduardo Nunez.  Segovia got out of the inning by striking out Michael Aubrey, Adam Donachie and Blake Davis in order.

In the 7th inning Ross Wolf retired the first two batters and then walked Kevin Russo. Russo was followed by Reegie Corona who after getting down in the count 0-2 kept fouling balls off until he launched a home runner over the right field wall.  Wolf then retired Eduardo Nunez to end the inning but pounded his fist in his glove in frustration for giving up the two out home run after nearly having Corona out.

In the 8th inning Jim Johnson (0-0 0.00) made his first appearance for the Tides this year after being sent down from Baltimore when Brad Bergeson was brought back to the team from the Tides. Johnson allowed a 2 out double to Jon Weber but allowed no runs.  The Yankees brought in Tim Norton (0-0 0.00) to pitch to the Tides.  Norton gave up a leadoff double to Josh Bell.  Corey Patterson grounded out and Scott Moore flied out.  Michael Aubrey walked and with runners on first and third Adam Donachie flied out to center to end the inning.  Frank Mata (1-0 1.50 S4) came in to close the game for the Tides in a non-save situation and put down the Yankees in order.

In all the Tides scored 12 runs on 16 hits with no errors leaving 8 men on base. The Yankees had 4 runs on 4 hits and two errors with 6 left on base. Corey Patterson went 2-5 today and ended the series with the Yankees at 9 for 16.  Josh Bell hit his fourth home run, Robert Andino got numbers three and four and Scott Moore got his third dinger of the season.

Jake Arrieta (3-1 1.50) got the win and Zack McAllister (0-2 5.52) got the loss.  The Tides get a well deserved day off on Wednesday and return to Harbor Park to face the Toledo Mud Hens with Chris George (1-1 4.24) taking the hill for the Tides going up against Toledo’s Armando Galarraga (3-2 2.30).  The weather should be great with daytime highs in the mid- 80’s and clear skies. See you there.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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