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.
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.
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.
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.
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.