An AL East championship was celebrated in downtown Baltimore tonight. At about the same time as the O's were winning the AL East, their Triple-A Norfolk affiliate was winning the International League title for the first time in 38 years.
The Tides tonight beat the Durham Bulls 7-0 to win the 2023 IL title. The teams were tied 1-1 in the best-of-three series with Norfolk, on their home field at Harbor Park, taking tonight's decisive Game 3.
The Tides have been the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate since 2007, and this is Norfolk's first title representing the Orioles.
Norfolk had won previous International League championships in 1972, 1975, 1982, 1983 and 1985 - all as a New York Mets affiliate.
Now the Tides have one more.
The Tides, who won 7-2 last night to force tonight's third game, got a fast start this evening, leading 3-0 at the end of the first inning. Coby Mayo's ground-rule two-run double to right provided a 2-0 lead and he scored on a Joey Ortiz fielder's choice.
Lewin Diaz added an RBI single in the third as Norfolk went ahead 4-0.
The Tides turned it into a blowout when Jackson Holliday hit a solo shot and Mayo a two-run blast in the eighth. Mayo went 4-for-4 with three runs and four RBIs.
On the mound, Cade Povich went the first four and Kyle Dowdy the next three innings. Wandisson Charles and Nick Vespi got the final six outs as Norfolk pitched a combined three-hitter.
Norfolk has had an amazing season setting a team record in the regular season for wins, going 90-59. They also set team records this year for runs, hits, doubles, homers and pitcher strikeouts.
With a win on June 21, Norfolk clinched the first-half IL championship and that meant the Tides would host all three games this week versus Durham, a Tampa Bay affiliate and two-time defending league champs.
Managed by Buck Britton and featuring numerous top 100 prospects, the Tides got off to a fast start to this season. They broke out of the gates going 7-1 and were 11-4 after 15 games. After 29 games in early May, they were 22-7. Their final first-half record was 46-28.
Their postseason berth is their first since the 2015 season.
And now the Tides season has one game left. As IL champs, Norfolk will play a one-game Triple-A championship against Oklahoma City, the Dodgers Triple-A team, on Saturday night at 10 p.m. ET at Las Vegas Ballpark.