LAST SERIES RECAP
The Tides entered the series against the Rochester Red Wings stuck in a four-game losing streak and fresh off of a sweep at the hands of the Pawtucket Red Sox. Norfolk scored only six runs in the three games against Pawtucket, though the bullpen posted a 1.98 ERA over 13.2 innings pitched. The Orioles promoted one of their top prospects, outfielder Cedric Mullins, to the Tides from Double-A Bowie before Saturday’s game against the Red Wings.
As of June 1, the club held a 28-23 record and remained just a half-game behind the Durham Bulls for first place in the IL South.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: ROCHESTER RED WINGS
The Rochester Red Wings are the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. Rochester features seven of the Twins’ top 30 prospects: left-handed pitcher Stephen Gonsalves (No. 3); shortstop Nick Gordon (4); right-handers Zack Littell (15), John Curtiss (20), and Luke Bard (27); and outfielders Jake Cave (25) and Zack Granite (26). The Red Wings entered Saturday’s game with a 27-23 record, good for third place in the IL North and just one game behind Lehigh Valley for the division lead.
Rochester 3, Norfolk 1
Tides starter Yefry Ramirez pitched six strong innings on Friday night, but back-to-back home runs from the Red Wings’ Jake Cave and Chris Carter coupled with a slumping Norfolk offense doomed the Tides to their fifth straight loss.
Ruben Tejada got the Tides on the board in the fourth inning after hitting a bloop single to left-center field, scoring Caleb Joseph and giving Norfolk a 1-0 lead. Ramirez, who breezed through the first four innings, got into trouble in the fifth after Rochester opened the inning with back-to-back singles. Though Ramirez managed to get Nick Buss to fly out, he would then hit Taylor Featherston to load the bases. The Tides escaped the jam with help from first baseman Garabez Rosa, who made an excellent throw home on a ground ball to nab the lead runner for the second out of the inning. Ramirez would then strike out Nick Gordon to end the Red Wings’ threat.
Cave and Carter launched a pair of long home runs off of Ramirez to open the sixth inning and put Rochester on top – a lead they would not relinquish. Ramirez finished the sixth inning without allowing another run, but exited prior to the seventh inning having struck out six Red Wings and walked one. Rochester added another run in the top of the ninth after Gordon singled home Zack Granite from second.
Cedric Mullins, the No. 6 prospect in the Orioles organization, made an immediate impact on defense in his Tides debut with a diving catch in center field to rob Rochester’s Taylor Motter of a base hit. Mullins, a switch-hitting outfielder best known for his speed and defensive prowess, went 0-for-4 at the plate and struck out twice. The 23-year-old is expected to make his major league debut at some point this season.
Norfolk 7, Rochester 3
After four games of sluggish offensive production to start the homestand, the Norfolk bats exploded in the fifth inning of Saturday night’s game for six runs – helping the Tides snap a season-high five-game losing streak.
Jimmy Yacabonis, the Tides starting pitcher, threw five strong innings and yielded just one run while striking out two Red Wing hitters.
Yacabonis and two Rochester pitchers, Gabriel Moya and Jake Reed, were locked in a 1-1 pitcher’s duel through four innings. The Red Wings’ scheduled starter, Zack Littell, was promoted to the Twins earlier in the day – forcing Rochester manager Joel Skinner to mix and match pitchers throughout the night. Nick Anderson relieved Reed in the fifth and immediately gave up a bunt single to Mullins. Anderson proceeded to walk the next hitter, Renato Nunez, on four pitches and then surrendered a long three-run homer to third baseman Drew Dosch. Garabez Rosa would immediately follow with another base hit, and following another walk to Mike Yastrzemski, Caleb Joseph hit the inning’s second three-run homer to send the Harbor Park fans into a frenzy.
Left-hander Joely Rodriguez took over for Yacabonis to start the bottom of the sixth and pitched the next two frames, giving up two runs. Righty Jhan Marinez finished the game by shutting out the Red Wings in the eighth and ninth innings.
Tides first baseman Garabez Rosa also had a strong offensive showing, finishing the night 3-for-5 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored.
Sunday’s game was postponed due to rain. It will be made up at a date TBD.