After the Tides split the first four games of the season, they came back home to Harbor Park for a seven-game homestand starting April 9th. They were swept by the Gwinnett Braves in the first three games, including a devastating, 14-12 loss on April 11th in which the Tides had a 12-5 lead going into the top of the 9th before Gwinnett scored seven times to knot the game at 12.
Instead of rolling over and folding after being swept, Norfolk gained their first series victory of the season, taking three of four from the Charlotte Knights while only allowing a total of 11 runs in the series combined.
Tides pitching getting it done
Tides starter Chris Tillman gained his first victory of the season in Game 1, outpitching Knights starter Dylan Axelrod in the 1-0 victory. Tillman pitched 5 2/3 strong innings, allowing just three hits while striking out eight.
Dana Eveland gave Norfolk back-to-back strong starts as he pitched 6 2/3, allowing three earned runs, walking two and striking out three. The bullpen shut the door the rest of the way, throwing seven scoreless innings before Tides catcher John Hester hit a solo homerun to win it in the bottom of the 14th. Oscar Villarreal worked three innings, striking out two and earning the victory.
The bullpen has been a strength early for the Tides as they pitched 12 1/3 consecutive innings without allowing a run, before Willie Eyre allowed three earned runs in the top of the 9th, spoiling starter Steve Johnson’s outing in the 5-2 loss on Saturday.
Another guy looking to make his way back to Baltimore is Jason Berken who pitched five scoreless innings on Sunday against Charlotte. Berken allowed three hits while striking out five. Miguel Socolovich earned his first win of the year in relief, tossing two scoreless innings.
All told, the Tides bullpen allowed just six runs in 17 2/3 innings during the four game series. For the season, the bullpen has pitched to a solid 3.22 ERA while striking out 35 batters.
Walk this way
A reason Orioles GM Dan Duquette signed Matt Antonelli to a major league contract was his ability to get on base. Antonelli leads the International League in walks with 13 after collecting two more on Sunday. He’s now drawn at least one walk in eight of nine games he’s had at least one plate appearance in. He also leads the club with an OBP of .500.
With a double in the game on Sunday, Tides second baseman Ryan Adams shares the lead in the IL with six for the season with two other players. Adams is batting .233 with five RBI for the Tides so far.
Outfielder Jai Miller had his six-game hitting streak snapped on Sunday, going 0-2 with a walk. Miller leads the club in hits (11), RBI (6), slugging % (.568) and total bases (21).
Outfielder/DH Scott Beerer has now hit safely in four consecutive games, batting .316 for the Tides during that stretch.
The Tides head back out on the road for an eight-game roadtrip, starting with four against the Gwinnett Braves. Their next trip after will be four games against the Scranton-Wilkes/Barre Yankees before coming home for a 10-game homestand.
Dontrelle Willis was placed on the 7-day DL with a left forearm strain, the Tides assigned RHP Miguel Gonzalez to the team to fill Willis’ roster spot.
Third baseman Zelous Wheeler was assigned to Double-A Bowie Baysox from Norfolk and Blake Davis was activated to fill a roster spot with Norfolk.