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Orioles minor league recap 9/28: Norfolk evens up championship series

Kyle Stowers had a big day at the plate, and the veteran pitching staff impressed as the Tides pushed the series to a decisive game three.

Baltimore Orioles v Detroit Tigers Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

Triple-A: Norfolk Tides 7, Durham Bulls (Rays) 2

The Tides entered Wednesday’s game down 1-0 in a best-of-three-series for the International League Championship. They had to win in order to push it a decisive game three, and that is exactly what they did.

Norfolk got off the mark in the second inning with back-to-back home runs from Coby Mayo and Kyle Stowers to take a 2-0 lead.

Stowers kept things going in the fifth. After Mayo reached base on a passed ball third strike, Stowers doubled to left field, putting two runners in scoring position. Joey Ortiz followed up by smacking a single through the infield to bring both Mayo and Stowers home. The Tides lead grew to four.

The sixth inning opened with walks to Lewin Díaz and Maverick Handley. Díaz advanced to third on a Jackson Holliday fly out. With Connor Norby at the plate, Handley stole second base and then Bulls reliever Justin Sterner uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Díaz to score and Handley to advance to third. Norby flew out, but then during a Colton Cowser at-bat Sterner threw another wild pitch, scoring Handley. Without recording a hit the Tides had scored twice more to make it 6-0.

Norfolk made it a seven-run advantage in the seventh inning. Stowers tripled to center field with one out, and Ortiz knocked him in with a double.

All the while, the Tides leaned on a pair of veterans to toss seven shutout innings to begin the game. Cole Irvin started and navigated three innings, striking out five, allowing two hits, and issuing no walks. But he was outdone by Austin Voth, who racked up nine strikeouts in his four shutout innings.

Bryan Baker entered for the eighth, and things didn’t go particularly well, as has been the case for much of his stint in Triple-A this year. The first batter he faced, Logan Driscoll, drilled a solo home run for Durham’s first run of the day. The next three batters went: hit by pitch, line out, single. He recorded a strikeout to nearly get out of the jam, and then induced a grounder, but Holliday booted it at shortstop, allowing an unearned run to score. Baker would finally get the third out on the next batter.

Joey Krehbiel came on for the ninth, tiptoed around a pair of walks, struck out two, and closed out the 7-2 win for the Tides.

Stowers had a stellar day at the plate with three hits, three runs, a walk, and and RBI. Holliday and Ortiz both had two hits, including a double, plus one walk each. Mayo drove in just the one run on his solo homer, and also worked a walk.

Tonight’s game at Harbor Park is for all the marbles. That sets up a potential dual celebration in the Orioles organization this evening if the big league squad also handles their business up in Baltimore.

Box Scores

Thursday’s Schedule

  • Norfolk: vs Durham, 6:35. SP: TBD