Joey Rickard's grand slam powered Norfolk to a 4-3 win and a doubleheader split Wednesday night at Harbor Park. The Tides dropped the opening contest, 8-2.
The Braves held a 2-0 lead in the nightcap before the Tides mounted a second inning rally to take control of the game. Ruben Tejada opened the inning with a single before moving to second on a walk to Luis Sardinas. David Washington followed with a fielder's choice grounder, but first baseman Matt Tuiasosopo's throw to second was wide of the second base bag, allowing the Tides to load the bases with one out. After a strikeout, Rickard lined a shot off of Manny Barreda (2-1) just inside inside the left field foul pole for Norfolk's second grand slam of the season and a 4-2 lead.
Gabriel Ynoa (6-9) made the early offense stand up, as he allowed two runs on six hits over six innings of work. Ynoa walked one and struck out five, throwing 52 of his 79 pitches for strikes en route to turning in his fourth consecutive Quality Start.
In eight starts since the All-Star break, Ynoa is now 5-1 with a 2.87 ERA (17 ER, 53.1 IP), seven walks and 44 strikeouts.
The Braves pulled within a run in the seventh inning, as Xavier Avery drove home a run with a two-out single. Richard Rodriguez closed the door, however, striking out Micah Johnson to earn his 10th save of the season.
In game one, the Braves used four home runs - three of them with two outs - to cruise to an 8-2 win.
Gwinnett jumped out to a two-run lead in the first frame, thanks to a two-out, two-run home run from Rio Ruiz. The Braves extended their advantage to 7-0 in the second frame, as Avery and Sean Kazmar hit back-to-back home runs off of Alec Asher (3-3), both with two outs. Gwinnett capped their offensive attack with a solo home run by Kade Scivicque off of Jason Wheeler in the fourth frame.
Asher, making his first appearance with the Tides in 15 days, yielded seven runs on five hits and two walks over 1.2 innings of work. He struck out two while throwing 36 of his 59 pitches for strikes.
Norfolk's lone offensive highlight of game one came in the fifth frame, when David Washington singled and came around to score on a two-run homer from Mike Yastrzemski. Yastrzemski now has 15 home runs in 95 games between Norfolk and Bowie this season.
The Tides will wrap up the home portion of their season on Thursday night at Harbor Park, with first pitch slated for 7:05. Jayson Aquino (3-9, 4.09) will get the start for the Tides and be opposed by left-hander Luis Gozara (1-2, 3.86).
On Thursday, the first 4,000 fans will receive a 2017 Tides team photo courtesy of John's Tax Service. There will also be a postgame fireworks show, courtesy of Wawa.
Notes: Earlier Wednesday, RHP Mike Wright was added to Norfolk's roster after he was optioned from Baltimore earlier this week. Wright will start on Friday at Charlotte… J.J. Hardy went 0-for-1 with two walks in the opener, upping his on-base percentage to .464 in eight rehab games with the Tides… The run allowed by Richard Rodriguez in the nightcap snapped a 10-game scoreless run…Luis Sardinas singled twice in game two, upping his average to .307 this season.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.