Norfolk got a solid start from Alec Asher and Luis Sardinas had two hits and an RBI, but the Durham Bulls used two early runs to edge the Tides 2-1 Thursday night at Harbor Park.
Making just his second start with Norfolk after he was optioned from Baltimore before the All-Star break, Asher (1-1) pitched well but took the tough-luck loss. The 25-year-old right-hander yielded two runs on five hits over 5.2 innings of work, walking three and striking out two while throwing 48 of his 84 pitches for strikes. He retired the final seven batters he faced, but a two-out, two-run double by Ryan Brett in the second inning proved to be the difference as the Bulls took the opener of the four-game set.
In three starts with Norfolk this season, Asher has now posted a 1.80 ERA (3 ER, 15.0 IP).
The Tides plated their only run of the contest in the second frame, when Sardiñas' two-out RBI single scored Francisco Pena. Sardiñas later added an infield single to help pace Norfolk's six-hit attack.
Yonny Chirinos (9-3) earned his ninth win of the season, tying him with two others atop the International League leaderboard. He walked one and struck out four in five innings before giving way to the Bulls bullpen, which yielded one hit over four innings of scoreless relief.
Kean Wong doubled twice as part of a three-hit night for Durham, which upped its league-best record to 56-34 with the win.
The two teams will continue their four-game series on Friday night, with first pitch slated for 7:05. Jayson Aquino (2-7, 4.46) will get the start for Norfolk and be opposed by right-hander Austin Pruitt (0-0, 1.15). Friday is Christmas in July at Harbor Park, as the first 3,000 fans 18 & over will receive a 25th anniversary snow globe courtesy of John's Tax Service.
Notes: The temperature at first pitch was 95 degrees…Prior to Thursday's game, C Chance Sisco was reinstated from the Temporarily Inactive List, 1B David Washington and IF Paul Janish were activated after being outrighted from Baltimore, OF Tucker Nathans and C Chris O'Brien were transferred to Double-A Bowie, and IF Sharlon Schoop was placed on the disabled list with a strained hamstring (retro to 7/12)… Jordan Kipper worked 1.2 shutout innings out of the bullpen in his first relief outing since 2014… Chris Johnson had his six-game hitting streak snapped.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.