NORFOLK, Va.- The bats were active Saturday night, as both the Charlotte Knights and Norfolk Tides combined to score 15 runs and 20 hits. Pedro Alvarez knocked in the game-winning run in a 8-7 win Saturday night at Harbor Park. The Tides were first to strike a run on the board after Michael Bourn led off with a single in the 1st inning. With one out and during Álvarez's at bat, Bourn stole 2nd and advanced to third on a throwing error by Charlotte catcher Carson Blair. Álvarez then grounded out to second base to score Bourn.
In the top of the second, the Knights responded with a long two-run home run by Cody Asche to right field that scored Ryan Raburn from first. The Knights led 2-1 after two innings. In the top of the third inning, Jose Vinicio led off with a double down the right field line. He then scored on a sacrifice bunt by Jacob May after Álvarez dropped the throw from Richard Rodriguez. Later in the inning, Danny Hayes knocked an RBI single to score May, making it 4-1 Charlotte. Norfolk answered right back in the bottom of the inning. Bourn had his 2nd hit on a triple with one out. Johnny Giavotella then knocked him in on a groundout to second, cutting the Knights lead to 4-2.
In the top of the fourth, Knights continued their offensive success. After walking Asche and hitting Adam Engel with a pitch, Rodriguez struck out Blair and was then replaced by recent Tides addition Donnie Hart. Hart couldn't stop the bleeding as he allowed an RBI single to Vinicio that scored Asche, followed by a groundout to first base that scored Engel. Knights led 6-2.
Norfolk answered by scoring two runs for their second straight inning in the bottom of the fourth. With two down, Craig Gentry hit a double to put himself in scoring position. Drew Dosch followed with a bloop single in-between Charlotte's shortstop and centerfield that scored Gentry. Dosch advanced to second after Everth Cabrera had trouble getting the ball back in to the infield. Henry Urrutia, who was inserted into the lineup late today to replace Paul Janish, drove a single down the left field line to score Dosch, the Tides were then down 6-4.
An inning later, the Tides struck again. Giavotella hit a long fly ball that kept carrying and ended up hitting high off the wall in right field next to the foul pole, resulting in a triple for him. Álvarez then hit a hard single to where the shortstop would normally be, however, he was facing an extreme shift to the right side of the field and ended up with his second RBI of the night. Tides cut the lead to one, 6-5 Knights.
Fast-forwarding to the top of the seventh, the Tides were in trouble after Jimmy Yacabonis walked the bases loaded to start the inning. Raburn grounded into a fielder's choice where Cabrera was able to score. Yacabonis was able to escape further damage and retired the remaining batters. Charlotte leads 7-5.
In the bottom of the eighth, Álvarez wasn't ready to quit as he lifted a first-pitch fastball off of Giovanni Soto over the right field bullpen for his 6th HR of the season and his second in the series. After eight innings, the Tides trailed 7-6.
Charlotte's Matt Purke came on to close out the game for the Knights in the ninth. After striking out Dosch, Urrutia walked and was replaced by Mike Yastrzemski as a pinch runner. Logan Schafer then reach first on a bunt single in-between first and second base. Bourn popped up to third base for the second out, leaving Giavotella as the potential final out. On a 2-2 count, he smack a line drive up the middle to score Yastrzemski and tie the game at 7. On the play, the throw from Engel to the plate went by Blair, advancing Schafer to third base and Giavotella to second. On the very next pitch, Álvarez played the hero and smacked his third hit of the night up the middle to score the game-winning run, his fourth RBI of the game. The Tides are 2-1 in this four-game series and are 7-6 in total against Charlotte on the season. They are 5-1 against the Knights at Harbor Park.