Norfolk's late rally fell just short as the Tides dropped a 2-1 decision to Indianapolis in front of 6,021 fans Thursday afternoon at Harbor Park.
The Tides trailed 2-0 entering the final frame before mounting a rally against Tribe reliever Tim Alderson. L.J. Hoes opened the frame with a single to center, and two outs later he advanced to second on a single by Brandon Wood. Luis Exposito then lined a single of his own to center, plating Hoes and chasing Alderson from the contest. Jose Contreras was summoned from the bullpen to face Xavier Avery, and he promptly uncorked a wild pitch to put runners at second and third. Contreras fell behind in the count 3-0, but he battled back to strike out Avery, giving the Indians a 2-1 win and a sweep of the four-game series.
The loss was Norfolk's ninth straight and tenth consecutive at Harbor Park. The Tides, who earlier this season set a Harbor Park record by winning 10 straight at home, matched the record for the longest losing streak at Harbor Park, tying a 10-game losing streak set during the 1994 campaign.
Norfolk starter Josh Stinson (3-4) took the loss after allowing two runs on four hits in 4.1 innings of work. Stinson struck out six in the outing, but he also walked four while needing 97 pitches to record his 13 outs. Indianapolis took the lead off of Stinson in the third inning on an RBI single by Tony Sanchez, then doubled its lead two innings later on a sacrifice fly by Jared Goedert off of reliever Mark Hendrickson.
Indy starter Kris Johnson (6-3) registered the win and lowered his ERA to 2.82 with six shutout innings of work. Johnson walked two and struck out five, helping the Indians improve to a league-best 50-25 this season.
The Tides look to break their skid on Friday as they travel to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for a four-game, three-day series with the RailRiders. Jair Jurrjens (4-4, 3.82) will take the hill for Norfolk against right-hander Ivan Nova (2-0, 2.04).
Notes: Buck Britton singled in the eighth inning to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 16 games…Norfolk hit .095 (4-for-42) with runners in scoring position over the eight-game homestand…L.J. Hoes singled and walked in the contest, and he's now posted a .500 on-base percentage over his last 12 games…Counting the 17 innings played during a doubleheader Wednesday night, Norfolk and Indianapolis played 26 innings in 21 hours.