Jesus Sanchez has spent most of this season with the Miami Marlins, but has struggled at the plate and got optioned to Triple-A Jacksonville earlier this month.
Sanchez showed some signs that he’s ready to make a return to the majors, hitting a walk-off RBI double and driving in a pair of runs to rally the Jumbo Shrimp to a 7-6 victory over the Norfolk Tides in the regularly scheduled International League game Wednesday night at 121 Financial Ballpark in Jacksonville.
The game was shortened to seven innings since Tuesday night’s suspended game had to be completed earlier Wednesday. The Tides won that contest 6-3.
Norfolk (54-64) went up 6-3 in the regularly scheduled game as well. Kelvin Gutierrez hit a two-run homer in the first inning and added a run-scoring groundout in the third to make it 4-1.
Jacksonville (63-56) drew within 4-3 on Bryan De La Cruz’s solo homer and Sanchez’s RBI groundout in the third.
Jordan Westburg’s RBI single in the fourth and Anthony Bemboom’s sacrifice fly in the fifth gave the Tides a 6-3 lead, but the Jumbo Shrimp tied it in the bottom of the fifth on Víctor Víctor Mesa’s two-run single and Bryson Brigman’s RBI single.
The Tides got a runner into scoring position in the top of the seventh when Brett Phillips walked with one out and stole second, but Jacksonville reliever Eli Villalobos (1-0) struck out Brett Cumberland and got Shayne Fontana to line out to short.
Willians Astudillo opened the bottom of the seventh with a double to left. Luis Aviles Jr. pinch-ran for Astudillo, and Sanchez followed with a ground-rule double down the left-field line to end it.
Villalobos pitched 1.2 scoreless innings for the victory. Tides reliever Beau Sulser (2-4) gave up the run in the seventh after pitching a scoreless sixth.
Norfolk starter Bruce Zimmermann had seven strikeouts and one walk in five innings, but allowed six runs (four earned).
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Westburg finished with two of the Tides’ six hits.
The teams are scheduled to play a 7:05 p.m. game Thursday.
Jacksonville 7, Norfolk 6
Norfolk 202 110 0 — 6 6 0
Jacksonville 102 030 1 — 7 12 2
W-Villalobos (1-0). L-Sulser (2-4).
E-Jacksonville, Didder (1), Brigman (9). 2B-Jacksonville, Astudillo 2 (9), De La Cruz (3), Sanchez (2). HR-Norfolk, Gutierrez (6); Jacksonville, De La Cruz (3). SB-Norfolk, Gutierrez (5), Phillips (1). SAC-Jacksonville, Brigman. SF-Norfolk, Bemboom. LOB-Norfolk 7, Jacksonville 7. DP-Jacksonville 1. WP-Jacksonville, Simpson. PB-Norfolk, Bemboom 3 (6). HBP-Norfolk, Phillips (by Fishman), Cumberland (by Simpson), Westburg (by Simpson). T-2:22. A-2,080.