By Jim Hodges
© April 8, 2013
Danny Valencia singled home Trayvon Robinson in the bottom of the seventh inning Sunday to give the Tides their first win of the season. It came after Durham's Chris Gimenez singled home Jason Bourgeois to break a 2-2 tie in the fourth inning of the opener, in which Tides pitchers surrendered 10 hits and walked seven. Both games were scheduled for seven innings.
Robinson homered in his first at-bat as a Tide and added two singles in the opener. He doubled into the right-field corner and advanced to third on a wild pitch before scoring the winning run in the second game.
Robinson, acquired by Baltimore in a trade with Seattle, said he is glad for a new start with a new club.
"I just want to win, want to play," he said.
That was his quarrel with Seattle.
"It was tough, sitting and then getting in to face the Angels' bullpen," Robinson said. "Get me in. Give me 500 at-bats in the big leagues and then judge."
Pitching in a pinch
Tides manager Ron Johnson was looking for someone to start Game 2 when he approached veteran Freddy Garcia on Saturday.
"He said, 'Yeah, no problem. I got it,' " Johnson said. "I know a lot of guys that I would ask that question who would say, 'No. I want to stick with my routine.' "
Garcia, who has 152 big-league wins, pitched five innings, scattering seven hits and giving up three runs.
"Those guys, they swing at almost every pitch you throw," he said, laughing.
It was a bit disconcerting for a pitcher who operates more on guile than speed.
"I had to make adjustments."
A blister in the sun
Left-hander Zach Britton was in trouble from the second pitch of the opener, when a blood blister near his left thumbnail burst.
"It took away the grip, which is the way I command the ball," said Britton, who left after giving up a run and two hits, walking four and throwing three wild pitches in two innings. "The thumb is your guiding finger on the ball. I tried to adjust my grip a bit, to at least give them some innings."
After the Tides used their bullpen for 9 2?3 of their first 20 innings, they were looking for a starter to go deep into the game.
After opening last season on the disabled list because of left shoulder problems, Britton was excited about being pain-free in spring training. Then the blood blister developed during his last spring outing.
"I'd never experienced it before," Britton said. "It's not something I'm used to."
Tides trainer Mark Shires tried everything, including Super Glue, to close the blister.
Auld Lang Syne
Britton's start against Durham lefthander Mike Montgomery was a reunion. The two played Little League ball against each other.
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