Norfolk Tides rally late, top Gwinnett, 6-5
The game was knotted up at 5-5 in the eighth before Rylan Bannon ignited the go-ahead rally with a two-out single off of Jeremy Walker (1-1). Smith Jr. followed by lining a slicing drive off the left-center field wall, easily scoring Bannon and giving the Tides a 6-5 lead.
Tayler Scott made the lead hold up, working a perfect ninth inning to earn his sixth save of the season and give the Tides the win in the opener of a four-game set.
Smith Jr., who joined the Tides Monday on a Major League Rehab assignment, also doubled home a run in the third inning and reached on an infield single in the sixth. The 26-year-old served as the designated hitter as he rehabbed a left calf injury.
The Tides had led the contest 5-3, but the Stripers knotted the contest in the eighth inning on a two-run homer by Jack Lopez off of Dillon Tate (2-0). The homer was the first run Tate had allowed at the Triple-A level, and it snapped a 55.0-inning stretch in which Tides relievers had not allowed an earned run, spanning all the way back to the sixth inning of Norfolk’s August 3rd game vs. Durham.
Ryan Mountcastle, currently rated as the #4 prospect in the Orioles system by MLB.com, gave the Tides a 4-0 lead in the third inning with a two-run shot to straightaway center off of Stripers starter Kyle Wright. The blast was Mountcastle’s 23rd this year, which is now the second-most in a season by a Tides player since Norfolk became an Orioles affiliate in 2007, trailing a 26-homer campaign by Pedro Alvarez in 2017.
Norfolk starter Chandler Shepherd took a no-decision despite turning in his third straight Quality Start with the Tides. Making his first appearance since he threw four innings for Baltimore in his Major League debut on August 13th, Shepherd allowed three runs on seven hits over six innings of work. The 26-year-old right-hander took a shutout into the fifth inning and struck out six in his outing, giving him a 1.96 ERA (4 ER, 18.1 IP) through three starts with the Tides this month.
Bannon, Zach Vincej and Martin Cervenka each had two hits for Norfolk, which improved to 11-5 in August with the win.
The two clubs will continue their four-game set on Tuesday night at Harbor Park, with first pitch slated for 7:05. LHP Bruce Zimmermann (0-2, 6.30) is scheduled to start for Norfolk and be opposed by right-hander Touki Toussaint (1-3, 5.76).
Notes: Norfolk made a flurry of roster moves Monday, as RHP Chandler Shepherd was activated after being optioned from Baltimore, RHP Jimmy Yacabonis was activated after being outrighted from Baltimore, C Austin Wynns was placed on Baltimore’s Taxi Squad, C Pedro Perez was reinstated from Norfolk’s Injured List, OF Dwight Smith Jr was added to Norfolk’s roster on a Major League Rehab assignment, and RHPs Matt Wotherspoon and Josh Lucas were released from their Norfolk contracts…The Tides wore throwback Norfolk Tars uniforms as part of a Turn Back The Clock Night, which featured 50-cent hot dogs, sodas and popcorn…