Norfolk continued its torrid offensive attack with four home runs in an 8-6 victory over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs Thursday afternoon at Harbor Park.
After Lehigh Valley plated an unearned run against Norfolk starter Tsuyoshi Wada in the first inning, Travis Ishikawa belted a two-out, three-run homer in the bottom of the first off of IronPigs hurler Tyler Cloyd (1-4). One inning later, Buck Britton celebrated his 27th birthday with a solo shot to right, his first career Triple-A home run.
Norfolk added to its lead in the third frame, as Ishikawa and Danny Valencia combined on back-to-back solo home runs to open up a 6-1 lead. It was the first time the Tides have belted consecutive home runs this season and upped Norfolk's monthly total to 29 homers in just 15 games.
Ishikawa has now hit safely in 18 of his last 19 games while batting .405 (30-for-74) with five home runs and 24 runs batted in.
Valencia's home run was his seventh in the last nine games and tied him with Gwinnett's Ernesto Mejia for the International League lead with 11 round trippers. He's also now hit safely in 11 straight games, two shy of the longest streak in the IL this season.
Wada did not factor in the decision in his first outing of the 2013 season. The 32-year-old southpaw, who is recovering from "Tommy John" surgery on his left elbow, allowed four runs - three earned - on three hits in four innings of work. Wada struck out five while walking two, but needed 78 pitches to navigate his four innings of work.
Jake Pettit (2-0) earned the win after allowing two unearned runs in 2.2 innings of relief. Manny Delcarmen and Jairo Asencio followed with 2.1 innings of scoreless relief, with Asencio working around two baserunners in the ninth inning to register his 10th save of the season.
With the win, the Tides have now won six straight contests and 18 of 21. Norfolk has also plated 52 runs over its last five games while belting 12 home runs over that span.
The two clubs will wrap up their four-game series Friday night at Harbor Park, with first pitch set for 7:05. Steve Johnson (1-1, 4.41) will take the hill for the Tides against right-hander Ethan Martin (3-2, 5.77). Friday is Armed Forces Night, and active duty and retired military personnel can show their ID at the box office to receive discounted tickets. There will also be a postgame fireworks show courtesy of Navy Mutual.
Notes: Russ Canzler had two hits to extend his hitting streak to 11 games…Brandon Wood finished 3-for-5 with an RBI and is now hitting .333 with six RBI over his first five games since joining the Tides…Every Tides starter collected a hit for the second consecutive game… Outfielder Jason Pridie (strained groin) and infielder Jonathan Schoop (lower back strain) have been placed on Norfolk's disabled list…Zelous Wheeler was promoted from Double-A Bowie and went 1-for-4 in his season debut…The Tides have won 14 of their last 15 games at Harbor Park...Manny Delcarmen stranded a runner in the eighth inning and has now stranded each of the 15 runners he's inherited this year.