The Norfolk Tides (34-14) defeated the Memphis Redbirds (26-23), 7-2, on Friday night at AutoZone Park. A convincing win thanks to strong pitching by the Tides tonight guarantees at least a series split with the Redbirds.
Three consecutive base hits kicked things off for the Tides, the Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, as they took an early lead on a Josh Lester single hit to the opposite field. Norfolk would leave the top of the first with a 2-0 lead after Lewin Díaz brought in Jordan Westburg on a sacrifice fly.
The early advantage gave Bruce Zimmermann room to work with on the mound and he looked excellent through the first few frames, striking out five batters through the first three innings. Norby supplemented the established Norfolk lead in the fourth with a two-out RBI double lined over the head of the center fielder to put the Tides up by three.
As Zimmermann continued to deal, Norby struck again for his fourth hit of the night in the sixth with an opposite field blast that brought home two runs to give Norfolk a 5-0 lead.
When the seventh inning rolled around, the Tides tacked on two more runs with Daz Cameron scoring on a fielder’s choice and Joseph Rosa scoring on a Ben DeLuzio single driven into left field.
Six strong innings of shutout ball from Zimmermann put the lefty in line for the win as he handed the ball over to the bullpen for the final three innings of play.
Reed Garrett took over for the seventh and eighth innings, striking out two batters along the way.
The Redbirds, the Triple-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, scratched two runs in the ninth, but Nick Vespi was able to slam the door, securing the 7-2 Tides victory.
Picking up his first four-hit game of the year tonight was Connor Norby who went 4-for-5 with two runs, a double, a home run and three RBI…it’s the first time this season he’s worked three consecutive multi-hit games and it becomes his 18th overall multi-hit game on the year…he extends his team-leading active hitting streak to eight games (since May 18), batting .412 (14-for-34) over that span with five doubles, two home runs, six RBI, five walks and is slashing .500/.735/1.235.
Tallying six shutout innings in tonight’s ballgame was Bruce Zimmermann…he allowed only four hits and recorded eight strikeouts and picked up his fourth quality start of the year…by going at least 4.2 innings today, he passes Rick Van Den Hurk (175.0 IP) to be ranked 17th all-time in franchise history as an Orioles affiliate in innings pitched.
Collecting two stolen bases this evening was Daz Cameron…he increases his season total to nine which leads the team…it is the third time this year he has stolen multiple bags, most recently accomplishing the feat on April 22 against Rochester.
Norfolk is back at it tonight in Memphis with first pitch scheduled for 7:35 p.m. against the Redbirds. Taking the hill for the Tides will be RHP Ryan Watson (3-2, 3.82) and he will face off against RHP Thomas Parsons (0-1, 5.00)