Yamaico Navarro's eighth inning walk-off single gave Norfolk a doubleheader sweep over the Durham Bulls in front of 13,010 fans Saturday night at Harbor Park. The Tides beat Durham in game one, 7-5.
The two wins upped Norfolk's advantage in the IL Wild Card standings to one game over Rochester with two games to play. Rochester, which defeated Buffalo 6-5 Saturday, hosts Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in its final two games while the Tides play host to Durham. The winner of the Wild Card will take on Pawtucket in a five-game series beginning Wednesday night.
In the opener, which was the completion of a game originally suspended due to rain on August 23, Norfolk rallied back from a 5-1 eighth inning deficit to earn a 7-5 victory.
Trailing 5-1 with one out in the eighth, Navarro ignited the comeback bid with a two-run home run to left - his third home run in his last six games. Durham brought in C.J. Riefenhauser (1-1) to relieve, but Dan Johnson, Henry Urrutia and Jason Pridie hit consecutive singles to load the bases and chase Riefenhauser from the contest. Jonathan Schoop followed with a sacrifice fly off of Steve Geltz to pull the Tides within one before Steve Clevenger launched a go-ahead, three-run home run to right field to give Norfolk the lead.
Jairo Asencio worked a scoreless ninth inning to register his league-leading 27th save of the season. The 27 saves are the second-most in a single season in Tides franchise history, only trailing the 29 saves registered by Cory Doyne in 2007.
Mark Hendrickson (5-3) earned the victory after allowing three runs in three innings of relief.
The comeback win was Norfolk's 12th this season when trailing after seven innings of play. The 12 wins when trailing heading to the eighth are the most in affiliated baseball this year and are the most for an IL club since Rochester won 15 games during the 2009 season.
In the nightcap, both teams were held in check by strong pitching performances before Navarro's single gave Norfolk the walk-off win.
With two out and nobody on in the eighth, Luis Exposito starting the decisive rally with a double to left field off of Bulls reliever Frank De Los Santos (1-2). After Chris Dickerson worked a 12-pitch walk, Navarro hit a soft liner into right-center field, plating Exposito and giving the Tides the doubleheader sweep.
Tides starter Tsuyoshi Wada was impressive in taking the no-decision, working six shutout innings. Wada, who was making just his fifth start this season on four-day's rest, allowed five hits and three walks while striking out two. The 32-year-old southpaw has now pitched to a 1.43 ERA (6-ER, 37.2-IP) with 29 strikeouts and nine walks over his last six starts.
Manny Delcarmen (3-3) relieved Wada and fired two shutout innings to pick up the victory.
The two teams will square off again Sunday evening at Harbor Park, with first pitch slated for 6:05. Steve Johnson (1-3, 4.54) will take the mound for Norfolk against Durham right-hander Matt Buschmann (8-1, 2.97).
Notes: The announced crowd of 13,010 was the 10th-largest in Harbor Park history…Yamaico Navarro's home run gave him 12 this season, setting a new career-high…The Tides have 63 home runs at home this season, one shy of matching the Harbor Park record of 64 set during the 2010 campaign…The walk-off win was Norfolk's eighth this season…Norfolk and Durham have split 20 games this year…Chris Dickerson saw 28 pitches in four at-bats during game two, a number that included 17 foul balls.