In the first-ever postseason matchup between the Tides and Mud Hens, it was Thames' seventh-inning sacrifice fly off reliever Jeremy Hill that proved to be the decisive blow.
The Tides struck first against Toledo starter Andrew Good, plating a run in the second inning on a Chris Basak single, and extended their lead to 5-0 in the fourth inning on a two-run double by Joe Hietpas and run-scoring singles by Angel Pagan and Eric Valent.
But the Mud Hens were also charging against Norfolk starter Eric Junge (0-1), scoring twice in the third and fourth innings - including a two-run homer by Thames in the third - and plating the game-tying run in the fifth inning on a run-scoring single by Mike Hessman.
Junge allowed six runs (four earned) and nine hits in 6-1/3 innings, walking one and striking out seven.
Corey Hamman (1-0) earned the win in relief, throwing 2-2/3 innings of no-hit relief. The left-hander was making his Triple-A debut after being promoted from Double-A Erie earlier in the day.
With game two of the best-of-five series on tap for Thursday evening, Yusmeiro Petit will be on the hill to try and get Norfolk even in their quest for their first Governor's Cup title since 1985. Toledo counters with right-hander Joel Zumaya.