Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Final: Charlotte Knights 2, Gwinnett Braves 7

By Seth Lakso, Charlotte Observer Correspondent 

Final: Knights 2, Braves 7 -- Juan Jamie came on for the Braves and got some help from his center fielder, Todd Cunningham, who made a diving catch on a ball off the bat of Alex Liddi for the second out of the inning. Following a Tyler Saladino walk Jared Mitchell struck out to end the game.

Top 9th: Knights 2, Braves 7 -- Mitchell Boggs came on for Javy Guerra and after retiring the first two batters of the inning, walked Jose Constanza. The Braves leadoff man then stole second and came into score the Gwinnett's seventh run of the game on a Todd Cunningham single.

Bottom 8th: Knights 2, Braves 6 -- Josh Phegley K'd. Matt Davidson then singled and was quickly erased on a 4-6-3 double-play ball off the bat of Hector Gimenez.

Top 8th: Knights 2, Braves 6 -- Constanza led off the inning with a single. Following a pop out to Phegley, he advanced to third on a hit-and-run single off Javy Guerra's foot by La Stella. Consecutive RBI singles by Mejia and Terdoslavich then put the Braves up four. Mejia was thrown out trying to stretch his single into a double.

Bottom 7th: Knights 2, Braves 4 -- After Tyler Saladino flied to center, Mark Lamm walked Jared Mitchell and Gorkys Hernandez before being relieved by LHP Ryan Butcher, who promptly induced a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play off the bat of Carlos Sanchez.

Top 7th: Knights 2, Braves 4 -- Javy Guerra retired the side in order. Tonight's BB&T Ballpark attendance was just announced as 8,872. Through six home games this season, the Knights are averaging 9,442 fans a night.

Bottom 6th: Knights 2, Braves 4 -- Phegley tripled to begin the inning. Davidson followed with a strikeout and Gimenez then popped to second, before the Knights caught a break when Phipps reached on an error by the Braves third basemen, allowing Phegely to score.

Counting tonight, Matt Davidson is now just 6 for his last 37 with 20 strikeouts and zero RBI over his last 10 games.

End of the night for Axelrod: 6IP, 6H, 4ER, 1BB, 5K (94 pitches).

Top 6th: Knights 1, Braves 4 -- Axelrod appeared to tire a little, but got out of the inning scoreless despite allowing a hit and a walk with one out. Javy Guerra is now warming for the Knights.

Pitching Change: Mark Lamm has replaced Rodriguez: 5IP, 4H, 1ER, 6K (79 pitches).

Bottom 5th: Knights 1, Braves 4 -- Rodriguez sandwiched a Jared Mitchell one-out single between three strikeouts. The Braves southpaw now has six K's.

Top 5th: Knights 1, Braves 4 -- Axelrod turned in his first one-two-three inning since the first. Through five innings, he's allowed four runs on five hits and struck out five. (76 pitches).

Bottom 4th: Knights 1, Braves 4 -- Quick inning for Rodriguez, who sends Gimenez, Phipps and Liddi down in order.

Top 4th: Knights 1, Braves 4 -- Again, Axelrod had trouble with the leadoff batter when he allowed Joey Terdoslavich to take him yard to begin the inning. He then retired the side in order on a strikeout and two groundouts.

Bottom 3rd: Knights 1, Braves 3 -- Josh Phegely extended his on-base streak to 16 straight games with a two-out double to left, but was stranded there when Davidson flied to center.

Top 3rd: Knights 1, Braves 3 -- Oddly enough, it's the eight-nine batters in the Gwinnett lineup that have gotten to Axelrod, who began the game by retiring six of the first seven.

Steven Lerud opened the inning with a home run. He was directly followed by a Tyler Greene (a former Knight) triple, that upon replay appeared to actually be a home run as well, ricocheting off the railing above the wall in right field right next to the 315' sign.

Jose Constanze then singled to bring in Greene, stole second, was bunted to third, and came in to score on a fielder's choice off the batt of Tommy La Stella.

Bottom 2nd: Knights 1, Braves 0 -- Tyler Saladino's two-out single through the hole between third and short brought in Denis Phipps, who had walked and advanced to second on a fielder's choice, to put the Knights up, 1-0.  Charlotte entered Wednesday hitting just .136 (8 for 59) as a team with two outs and runners in scoring position.

Top 2nd: Knights 0, Braves 0 -- Axelrod allowed a leadoff single to Ernesto Majia, but then retired the next three in order. For whatever reason, Axelrod has struggled against first batters of innings this season. They have a .417 average (5 for 12) against the Knights starter.

Bottom 1st: Knights 0, Braves 0 -- Carlos Sanchez singled with one out in the inning, but was stranded on first after Josh Phegley flied to center and Matt Davidson struck out. The K was Davidson's 19th in his last 38 at bats.

Top 1st: Knights 0, Braves 0 -- Knights RHP Dylan Axelrod sent the Braves down in order in the first inning.


Knights (6-7)
Gorkys Hernandez CF
Carlos Sanchez SS
Josh Phegley C
Matt Davidson 3B
Hector Gimenez 1B
Denis Phipps DH
Alex Liddi RF
Tyler Saladino 2B
Jared Mitchell LF
Pitching: RHP Dylan Axelrod (1-0, 3.60)

Braves (6-6)
Jose Constanza LF
Todd Cunnungham CF
Tommy La Stella 2B
Ernesto Majia DH
Joey Terdoslavich RF
Mark Hamilton 1B
Edward Salcedo 3B
Steven Lerud C
Tyler Green SS
Pitching: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (1-1, 2.70)

Game time: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: MiLB.TV / ESPN 730

Stat of the Day: Both the Knights and Braves had their home openers in new ballparks spoiled by the Norfolk Tides. The Tides defeated Charlotte 8-6 in its first game at BB&T Ballpark this season and Gwinnett, 7-4, in its first game at Coolray Stadium in 2009. 

Notes: Last Monday, Charlotte Knights' sinkerballer Scott Carroll was named the International League's Pitcher of the Week. In three starts (19 IP), the 29-year-old righthander is yet to surrender an earned run. … On Monday, the White Sox signed former Mets closer Frank Francisco and added him to the Knights roster. The 34-year-old righthander joins a list of experienced major league relievers in Charlotte that already includes Mitchell Boggs, who led the National League in holds in 2012 with 34, and Javy Guerra, who saved 21 games for the Dodgers in 2011. … Through four games this season the Knights have drawn 39,111 fans through the gates of BB&T Ballpark, for an average of 9,778 per game. … Gwinnett and Charlotte will play six straight games against each other, with the first three coming at BB&T and the next three at Coolray Field. … Don’t expect the Knights to steal too many bases off Braves’ catcher Christian Bethancourt (who is not in today's lineup). ESPN’s Keith Law calls Bethancourt’s defense “possibly the best in the minors right now…and good enough to challenge Yadier Molina’s for best in the MLB when the time comes.” The 21-year-old was ranked as the No. 69 prospect in the game by Baseball America after the 2013 season. ... Friday Scott Carroll (3-0, 0.00) will face Braves lefthander Mike Minor, who is scheduled to make a rehab start fore Gwinnett, in what will likely be the one best pitching showdowns of the month.

Knights Walkup Song of the Day: Taylor Thompson -- God's Gonna Cut You Down, Johnny Cash

Today's Links: