By Josh Cook
A five-run fifth inning - due in large part to a grand slam - carried the Norfolk Tides to a 8-3 win over the Louisville Bats on Sunday afternoon.
Louisville out-hit Norfolk 12-11 on a hot day at Harbor Park in Norfolk, Va., but the Tides made the most of their opportunities.
With game-time temperature at 97 degrees Norfolk (37-42) but the heat on the Bats, and starter Chad Reineke, early. The Tides scored single runs in the first and second innings.
Louisville (35-43) got one run back in the fourth against Norfolk starter Timothy Bascom. Drew Sutton led off with a single, took second on Daniel Dorn's single, third on Michael Griffin's bunt single and scored when Chris Denove lined into a double play.
Then came the fifth inning.
Jeff Salazar hit a one-out ground-rule double, then scored when Josh Bell followed with a double of his own. Nolan Reimold then reached on a fielder's choice when Bats shortstop Zack Cozart threw to third baseman Juan Francisco to get Bell out at third. Reineke then walked the next two batters before giving up the two-out grand slam to Michel Hernandez. It was just Hernandez's second homer of the season and it was the first grand slam given up by a Louisville pitcher this season.
That was enough to chase Reineke (4-6), who gave up nine hits and seven earned runs, while walking four and striking out three in five innings.
The Tides increased their lead in the sixth inning when right fielder Jeff Salazar, who helped turn the Tides' double play in the fourth, homered off Bats reliever Enerio Del Rosario.
Louisville rallied for single runs in the seventh and eighth innings, but it was too late.
In the seventh newcomer Gary Matthews Jr. led off with a double, then moved to third on Cozart's single.
Matthews scored when Yonder Alonso helped out Norfolk reliever Mike Hinckley, who replaced Bascom, by grounding into a double play. Bascom (2-2) gave up 11 hits, but only two earned runs while walking one and striking out three in six innings.
In the eighth Todd Frazier led off with a home run against Hinckley. It was his second in as many games and Frazier's 11th of the season, which ties him for the team lead with Wladimir Balentien.
Matthews led Louisville's 12-hit attack by going 3-for-5 in his second game with the Bats. He made his debut in Saturday's 4-3 13-inning loss to Norfolk, going 0-for-6 with five strikeouts.
Cozart, Dorn and Griffin also had two hits for the Bats.
To make room for Matthews on the roster the Bats released Louisville native Chris Burke. In 66 games with the Bats this season Burke batted .238 with five home runs and 26 RBIs. His 38 runs scored were the second-most on the team. Burke, a graduate of St. Xavier High School, was the 10th overall selection in the 2001 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft by the Houston Astros. He is best known for his series-winning, walk-off home run in the 18th inning for the Astros in the 2005 National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves.
Meanwhile the parent Cincinnati Reds recalled relief pitcher Bill Bray and optioned right-handed pitcher Sam LeCure back to the Bats. LeCure was Louisville's best pitcher, going 5-2 with a 2.55 earned run average, before being called up by the Reds in late May. He won his first start, but lost his next four. He got a no-decision in his start Saturday against Cleveland. LeCure is 1-4 with a 4.86 ERA in six starts for the Reds.
The Bats will try to even their four-game series against Norfolk beginning at 7:15 p.m. Monday night. Right-hander Jesus Delgado (0-1, 3.28), who has 23 relief appearances this season, will make his first start for Louisville. He'll face Norfolk left-hander Chris George (3-2, 4.19).