Norfolk knocks off Durham behind early home runs

Álvarez and Yastrzemski homer in 5-4 triumph

Pedro Álvarez follows through after belting his 25th home run of the season Saturday night at Harbor Park. (Scott Sears/Norfolk Tides)

By Norfolk Tides | August 5, 2017 10:44 PM ET

Norfolk used two early home runs and a strong effort from the bullpen to edge the Durham Bulls 5-4 Saturday night at Harbor Park.

The Tides jumped out to an early lead in the contest, as Pedro Álvarez blasted a two-run, first inning home run off of Bulls starter Chase Whitley (0-1). One inning later, Mike Yastrzemski connected on a three-run shot - his second homer in as many games - to give the Tides an early 5-0 cushion.

The Bulls pulled back a run on an RBI single by Johnny Field in the third frame, then got within 5-4 in the fifth on a two-out, three-run triple to right-center field off the bat of Pat Leonard.

Neither team would score after the fifth inning, as Tides relievers Logan Verrett, Jimmy Yacabonis and Richard Rodriguez combined to allow one hit and two walks over four shutout innings of relief. The trio struck out five, with Rodriguez working the ninth inning to register his sixth save of the season.

Norfolk starter Tyler Wilson (5-6) yielded four runs on seven hits over five innings of work to earn his third straight victory. He walked two and struck out three, throwing 52 of his 83 pitches for strikes. The outing snapped a three-start stretch in which the UVA product had turned in a Quality Start, but Wilson is still 3-0 with a 3.65 ERA (10 ER, 24.2 IP) over his last four outings.

Pedro Álvarez now has 25 home runs this season, second-most in the International League. The 25 homers are also tied for the 5th-most in a single season in Tides franchise history, just six shy of the franchise mark of 31 homers hit by Roberto Petagine in the 1997 season.  

With the win, Norfolk has now won seven of its last nine games and 12 of its last 16. The Tides also clinched a series victory, the fifth straight series in which Norfolk has either won or split.

The Tides will look for the three-game series sweep on Sunday afternoon at Harbor Park, with first pitch slated for 4:05. Mike Wright (3-4, 3.90) gets the start for Norfolk and will be opposed by Old Dominion University product Ryan Yarbrough (11-5, 3.46).

Sunday is Bark in the Park at Harbor Park, as fans can spend an afternoon of baseball with their dogs courtesy of VCA Animal Hospitals. After the game, all fans - and their dogs - can run the bases.

Notes: Norfolk's starting pitchers have now gone 16 consecutive contests without registering a loss…IF Luis Sardinas registered two hits and a run scored, and he's now batted .388 (31-80) over his last 22 games…IF Drew Dosch singled and walked twice, and he's now hit .394 (13-33) over his last nine contests…The one-run contest was Norfolk's 27th at Harbor Park this season, with the Tides going 17-10 in those games…RHP Jimmy Yacabonis tossed a scoreless inning of relief, giving him 11.1 consecutive scoreless innings pitched.

August 5th highlights

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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