Left-hander Brian Matusz made his third relief appearance today for Triple-A Norfolk, and the results were much better.
Matusz walked one Gwinnett batter in a scoreless eighth inning. He didn’t allow a hit, and he threw 10 of 19 pitches for strikes.
Pat Egan pitched the ninth and completed an 8-0 victory that moved the Tides, winners of six of their last seven games, to within 2 1/2 games of the wild card lead.
In his most recent appearance Sunday, Matusz stranded two inherited runners before being charged with two runs and two hits in one inning, with two walks, one strikeout, one wild pitch and one balk. Matusz made his relief debut Wednesday against Gwinnett and allowed two runs and five hits in three innings, with two walks and five strikeouts.
In three outings since moving to the bullpen, Matusz has been charged with four runs and seven hits in five innings, with five walks and six strikeouts.
Manager Buck Showalter wants a second left-hander in the bullpen by the time rosters expand on Sept. 1. Matusz could arrive sooner, perhaps as a replacement for J.C. Romero, who has struggled since the Orioles traded for him last week. Otherwise, Matusz is a candidate to join Romero while Troy Patton remains on the disabled list with a sprained right ankle.
Starter Dana Eveland shut out Gwinnett today on three hits over seven innings, with no walks and five strikeouts. He threw 89 pitches, 58 for strikes.
Reliever Sean Gleason joined Norfolk’s roster today after going 3-1 with a 1.48 ERA and five saves in 18 games with Quintana Roo of the Mexican League. When Gleason appears in a game for the Tides, he will be the 74th different player used by the team this season, tying the International League record previously set by Louisville in 2003.
Norfolk already has matched the league record by using 25 different starting pitchers this season, and the Tides have had just two players (outfielder Jamie Hoffmann and pitcher Oscar Villarreal) who have spent the entire year on the active roster. The Tides have made 216 transactions so far this season.
Hoffman hit his ninth home run today, a three-run shot in the second inning off Gwinnett left-hander Yohan Flande, and had four RBIs.