By David Hall
© April 30, 2013
In the grand scheme of things, the Norfolk Tides weren’t necessarily in need of a collective pick-me-up. Chris Robinson supplied one anyway.
Robinson’s two-out single in the bottom of the 11th inning gave the Tides a tense win. The victory was Norfolk’s fifth straight and seventh in eight games, and it came on a night when the loss of a three-run lead in the eighth proved survivable.
“I think we’re pretty high right now anyway,” said Robinson, a 28-year-old catcher. “We’ve come back a couple of times. I think we’re playing pretty well.”
Jason Pridie, Danny Valencia and Russ Canzler hit solo home runs for the Tides (16-9), who banged out 12 hits.
Norfolk surrendered its late lead when Toledo got to reliever Chris Jones in his Triple-A debut. RBI singles by Jordan Lennerton and Argenis Diaz bookended Danny Dorn’s run-scoring ground out to tie it and set up Robinson’s heroics.
Relievers Alex Burnett and Adam Russell (2-0) combined for four scoreless innings after Jones departed. Burnett turned in three two-hit innings.
“I thought Burnett did an outstanding job,” Tides manager Ron Johnson said. “Damage control.”
Veteran Tides right-hander Freddy Garcia extended the opt-out clause in his contract over the weekend, ensuring he’ll remain in the Orioles organization for the time being.
Garcia, who has a 1.55 ERA in his past three starts and is the reigning International League Pitcher of the Week, could originally have opted out of his deal after five starts.
Under the new agreement, Garcia confirmed Monday afternoon, the club has until May 14 to sign him or he can become a free agent.
Garcia, 36, gave no indication that he’d wait for the Orioles to pull the trigger.
“I want to be in the big leagues,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where. There’s nothing to prove here.”
Bump in the road
The Tides, who had 20 errors through their first 24 games, committed three on Monday. Oddly, two were charged to the same player on one fifth-inning play, when Valencia booted a sharp Kevin Russo grounder to third to put Russo on first. Valencia, hurried, then threw the ball into the dugout to move the runner another 90 feet.
The announced attendance was 2,589. ... Norfolk, which jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first, improved to 11-2 when scoring first. ... The Tides are 1-2 in extra-inning games.
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