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Orioles minor league recap 7/8: Norfolk’s Norby homers, Bowie duo pitches gem

A couple of pitchers from the 2020 José Iglesias trade helped lead the Tides and Baysox to victories.

MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles at Detroit Tigers
Connor Norby is bidding to be the next top-100 O’s prospect to debut.
Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Triple-A: Norfolk Tides 6, Durham Bulls (Rays) 3

The three best prospects in the Tides’ lineup — Joey Ortiz (#7 prospect), Connor Norby (#9), and César Prieto (#23 tied) — led the charge for the Norfolk victory. Prieto and Ortiz each went 3-for-5 with an RBI, including Prieto’s second homer and Ortiz’s 16th double, and Ortiz also added a pair of stolen bases. It was Norby who delivered the decisive blow, a tiebreaking three-run homer in the top of the seventh. With his 10th blast, Norby is inching closer to an .800 OPS for the season (.791). The recently demoted Ryan McKenna swatted a home run as well.

Right-hander Garrett Stallings tossed his second quality start in a row. The 25-year-old, acquired in the José Iglesias trade in 2020, has pitched well in his three starts since his promotion to Triple-A, posting a 3.12 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 18 strikeouts in 17 innings.

Box score

Double-A: Bowie Baysox 4, Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants) 1

Bowie hurlers Jean Pinto and Alex Pham combined for an outstanding performance on the mound, limiting Richmond to just a first-inning run. Pinto started things with a quality six-inning effort, fanning five, with a Vaun Brown solo homer his only blemish. The 22-year-old righty, acquired along with Stallings in that Iglesias trade, has had a strong season across two levels, with a 2.80 ERA and 11.75 K/9 in 16 games for Aberdeen and Bowie. Pham, 23, finished things off with three scoreless, striking out five of his own to continue his breakout season (2.24 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 12.31 K/9 in 15 games for the IronBirds and Baysox).

Cleanup man Zach Watson contributed three of Bowie’s 10 hits, including a double and RBI single. Shortstop Joseph Rosa drove in two with a single and sac fly. Watson and Rosa each had a stolen base as well. Coby Mayo (#8 prospect) went 1-for-5.

Box score

High-A: Greensboro Grasshoppers (Pirates) 5, Aberdeen IronBirds 4 (10 inn.)

The IronBirds ended up on the short end of a back-and-forth contest with the Grasshoppers, a game that saw four lead changes and ended with a walkoff loss. Tied 3-3 after regulation, the IronBirds plated their free baserunner in the top of the 10th on an Isaac De Leon RBI single, but Greensboro’s Luke Brown delivered a two-out, two-run single off reliever Carson Carter.

Prospects Dylan Beavers (#11), Max Wagner (#16), and Frederick Bencosme (#20) combined for five hits, including Beavers’s game-tying, two-run homer in the eighth. It was his eighth home run. Starting pitcher Kyle Virbitsky didn’t make it through five, allowing two runs and eight baserunners in 4.2 innings. Reliever Cameron Weston gave up his first run in High-A but still has a 0.68 ERA in four games.

Box score

Low-A: Fredericksburg Nationals 10, Delmarva Shorebirds 1

Despite the lopsided final score, Shorebirds starter Zack Showalter actually pitched quite well, giving up just one run in four innings, and even that one was unearned. And yet he’s the guy saddled with the loss when it was his teammates who gave up the other nine runs. Win/loss rules for pitchers are so unfair. Showalter, 19, struck out four and didn’t walk anyone. The overslot 11th rounder from last year’s draft has allowed just one earned run in 11.1 innings, striking out 13, in his three starts for Delmarva.

With Samuel Basallo (#14 prospect) not in the lineup, the Shorebirds offense had nothing going on besides an eighth-inning solo homer by catcher Randy Florentino. Nationals starter Brad Lord held them scoreless for five innings. Lord had no mercy.

Box score

Saturday’s scheduled games:

  • Norfolk: at Durham, 6:35 PM. Starter: TBD
  • Bowie: at Richmond, 6:05 PM. Starter: Cade Povich (5-7, 5.16)
  • Aberdeen: at Greensboro, 6:30 PM. Starter: TBD
  • Delmarva: vs. Fredericksburg, 7:05 PM. Starter: Moises Chace (4-2, 5.63)