The Gwinnett Braves plated two eighth inning runs to rally past the Tides 3-2 Thursday afternoon at Harbor Park.
Norfolk entered the eighth frame with a 2-1 lead, but the Braves rallied against the Tides bullpen for their third straight victory. Ozzie Albies led off the eighth frame by working a walk from Richard Rodriguez (0-1), then moved to second on a single by Sean Kazmar. After Albies and Kazmar executed a double steal, Mel Rojas Jr. lifted a sacrifice fly to knot the score at 2-2. Jimmy Yacabonis was summoned from the bullpen, but Matt Tuiasosopo greeted him with an opposite-field double to give the Braves a 3-2 lead.
Gwinnett's bullpen made the lead hold up, as Caleb Dirks (1-0) and SamFreeman kept the Tides off the board the rest of the way, sending Norfolk to its seventh loss in eight games to open the season.
Tides starter Chris Lee turned in a solid outing in his second start of the year, as he allowed one run on five hits over 5.0 innings of work. The 24-year-old left-hander, rated as the #7 prospect in the Orioles system by MLB.com, yielded a first inning run but rebounded to keep the Braves off the board over his final four frames. He struck out five and walked three while throwing 46 of his 77 pitches for strikes.
Pedro Alvarez and Paul Janish each had an RBI double in the setback, while Alex Castellanos walked twice and scored a run. With two hits Thursday, Janish is now hitting .381 (8-21) with three doubles, three RBI and a .500 on-base percentage this season.
The Tides will welcome the Charlotte Knights to Harbor Park on Friday night for the start of a three-game set. Jayson Aquino (0-1, 12.00) gets the start for Norfolk and will be opposed by right-hander Tyler Danish (1-0, 1.80).
On Friday, former Old Dominion University basketball star Trey Freeman will be on hand at Harbor Park as part of ODU Night. Freeman will throw out the first pitch and meet with fans on the concourse during the ballgame. The first 2,500 fans will also receive a 25th year Harbor Park color-changing cup, courtesy of Autobell Carwash.
Notes: Norfolk registered its first errorless game of the season…Tides pitchers finished the four-game series with 36 strikeouts and eight walks… Johnny Giavotella hit his team-leading fourth double of the year, and he's now hit .303 (10-33) so far this season…Logan Schafer singled and scored a run and has now hit safely in six of eight games to open the season.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.