Luis Exposito's bases loaded double highlighted a seven-run eighth inning as the Tides rallied to knock off the Lehigh Valley IronPigs 12-7 in front of 6,258 fans Tuesday night at Harbor Park.
Norfolk trailed 7-5 entering the eighth frame but sent 11 men to the plate against IronPigs relievers Joe Savery (3-1) and Jake Diekman. Danny Valencia opened the frame with a solo home run off of Savery to pull the Tides within 7-6, his second solo shot of the game and team-leading ninth of the season. L.J. Hoes followed with a one-out single to center before a fielder's choice and back-to-back walks loaded the bases with two outs. Diekman was summoned from the bullpen to face Exposito, who belted an 0-2 pitch off the base of the left field wall for a two-run double that gave the Tides an 8-7 advantage.
Brandon Wood followed Exposito's heroics with a two-run single to left, and Russ Canzler then lofted an opposite field two-run homer to right to cap the scoring and give Norfolk a 12-7 lead.
Mike Belfiore retired the IronPigs in order in the ninth, wrapping up Norfolk's fourth straight win and improving the Tides to 12-1 in their last 13 games at Harbor Park.
Andy Loomis (1-0), promoted earlier in the day from Double-A Bowie, earned the win with 2.2 shutout innings of relief.
Norfolk starter Zach Britton did not factor in the decision after yielding seven runs - six earned - on a season-high 12 hits in 5.1 innings of work. Britton did not walk a batter while striking out three, throwing 65 of his 96 pitches for strikes.
Five different Tides batters finished with two runs batted in, as Norfolk won for the fifth time this season when trailing after seven innings of play. The Tides (27-12) have now won 16 of their last 19 games.
The two clubs will continue their four-game series Wednesday night at Harbor Park, with first pitch set for 6:35. Josh Stinson (1-1, 4.11) will take the hill for Norfolk against IronPigs southpaw Adam Morgan (1-3, 4.70).
Notes: Valencia and Canzler each extended their hitting streaks to nine games…Through 13 games in May, Norfolk leads the IL with a .308 team average, 24 home runs and 90 runs scored (6.9 per game)…Travis Ishikawa had an RBI single in the first inning and has now hit safely in 16 of his last 17 games…Jason Pridie left the contest in the 4th inning with tightness in his groin and will be reevaluated Wednesday…Valencia's two-homer game was Norfolk's fourth multi-homer game this month.