Austin Hays homered and Bruce Zimmermann struck out eight, but the Syracuse Mets used some early offense to knock off the Tides 4-2 in the opener of a three-game set Friday night at Harbor Park.
The Mets plated single runs in the first, second and third innings against Zimmermann (0-2), who was making his third start with Norfolk after a late-July promotion from Double-A Bowie. Dilson Herrera and Rene Rivera had run-scoring doubles to give the Mets an early 3-0 advantage, and Rivera later added a solo homer in the fifth inning that gave Syracuse a 4-1 lead.
Hays hit his sixth home run of the season in the fifth frame, a solo blast to straightaway centerfield that pulled the Tides within 4-2. It was the last offensive threat the Tides would muster the rest of the way, however, as Norfolk was limited to three singles over the final four innings.
Zimmermann took the loss after allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits over 5.1 innings of work. His eight strikeouts gave him 114 punchouts between Bowie and Norfolk this season, 4th-most among Orioles minor leaguers.
Jose Rondon doubled home a run in the fourth inning to account for Norfolk's first run, while Austin Wynns singled twice, walked and scored a run to help pace the offense. Mason Williams added a single and two walks as he extended his home hitting streak to 21 consecutive contests.
Harol Gonzalez (2-0) earned the win, allowing two runs over five innings. Three Mets relievers followed and kept the Tides off the scoreboard the rest of the way, with Daniel Zamora striking out the only two batters he faced to earn his fourth save of the season.
The contest was the first for the Tides against a Mets affiliate since 2012, when the Buffalo Bisons served as the Triple-A team for the Mets. The Tides had served as the Mets affiliate for a 38-year stretch from 1969-2006.
The two teams will continue their three-game set on Saturday night at Harbor Park, with first pitch slated for 7:05. Saturday is Navy Night at Harbor Park, as the Tides will honor the brave men and women who serve in the United States Navy. There will also be a postgame fireworks show presented by Navy Mutual.
Notes: Earlier Friday, the Orioles recalled infielder Rio Ruiz from Norfolk, while RHP Jimmy Yacabonis was activated to the Tides roster after he was optioned from Baltimore…Prior to the game, Sam Allen, Wayne Gomes, Tony Guzzo and former Tide David Wright were inducted into the Tidewater Baseball Shrine… Norfolk's bullpen allowed one hit and struck out four over 3.2 shutout innings of relief.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.