NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — On a Friday evening in which WAVY’s Amy Avery threw out the first pitch, the Norfolk Tides got off to a fast start and held off the Durham Bulls, 12-9, before 6,138 at Harbor Park.
Left-handed pitcher John Means, making a rehab start for the Tides and on a 70-pitch limit, pitched 4-1/3 innings, allowing just one run on four hits and two walks while striking out two. T.J. McFarland, who allowed two runs on two hits and two walks, picked up the win, but it was Norfolk’s bats who gave the pitchers plenty of room from which to work.
The Tides scored eight runs in the bottom of the first before they recorded their first out, chasing Durham right-hander Anthony Molina after he allowed eight runs — seven earned — on five hits and two walks.
Norfolk (75-48) started the game with a trio of singles from Colton Cowser, Connor Norby and Heston Kjerstad, the latter driving in Cowser for the first run of the game. A fielder’s choice from Joey Ortiz brought home Norby for the Tides’ second run before a walk by Kyle Stowers loaded the bases. Coby Mayo singled to left, bringing home Kjerstad and Ortiz for a 4-0 Tides lead.
Another walk to Lewin Diaz loaded the bases, setting up a grand slam by Daz Cameron over the centerfield fence, putting the Tides up 8-0 before they recorded their first out of the game.
Cameron drove in another run in the second to put the Tides up 9-0 before Durham (69-55) scored its first run in the third.
The Tides scored twice more in the fifth, with Kjerstad driving in another run on a ground out and Ortiz bringing another in with a single to put them up 11-1.
Durham scored twice in the sixth and the Tides one in the bottom of the same inning to give them a 12-3 lead.
The Bulls scored three runs in the seventh and then got a three-run homer from Austin Shenton in the eighth before Tyler Wells — sent down from Baltimore to Double-A Bowie after struggling after the All-Star break, and later sent to Triple-A Norfolk — pitched an inning of scoreless relief to get his first save with the Tides.
Norfolk hosts Durham for games Saturday (6:35 p.m.) and Sunday (4:05 p.m.) to close out the series. Saturday is fireworks night at Harbor Park, while Sunday is Halloween Night.