Thursday, July 31, 2014

Jordan Danks ties Knights all-time hits mark in 4-1 loss to Durham

When Jordan Danks got to within one hit of tying Joe Borchard for the most hits in Charlotte Knights franchise history, his teammates started to mess with him.

“The guys we’re joking around that I was going to go 1-for-30 now that I’m one away,” said Danks, who stepped to the plate in the eighth inning on Wednesday 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

Not interested in sticking around and possibly walking away with strikeout No. 3, Danks sat on a first pitch fastball and – when he got one – didn’t miss it, lacing a line drive single right back up the middle to earn a new place in the Knights’ record books.

“After I got off to a rough start today, I was like ‘You guys better not have jinxed me,’” joked Danks, who has hit .283 with 14 home runs this season. “But it worked out. I got a good pitch to hit.”

Danks’ 439th hit was one of just a handful of highlights in a 4-1 Charlotte loss to the Durham Bulls on Wednesday that came in front of 9,729 at BB&T BallPark.  

After Danks’ 1-for-4 showing, the 27-year-old center fielder now holds Knights’ records in games played (450), runs scored (242), triples (12), walks (207) and strikeouts (516).

“It’s cool,” said Danks, whose first hit with the Knights was a two-run home run and came in his Class AAA debut back on April 8, 2010.

“I’ve broken a few records this year and everyone’s been like, ‘Oh that’s not a very cool one to have,’” said Danks, still laughing. “Like, obviously, I’ve got the strikeouts mark, but I think hits are what people pay attention to.”

A message announcing Danks’ achievement flashed on the BB&T BallPark scoreboard after he’d reached first base and a smattering of those still in attendance at 9:45 on a weekday night – including fellow Knights players – stood and applauded.

“The guys, they just reacted to the base hit. It wasn’t over the top or anything,” said Charlotte manager Joel Skinner. “Good things happen to good people, you know. And (Danks has) done great here.” 

With Shawn Hill (3-5) on the mound, the Knights (50-63) fell behind 4-0 thanks to back-to-back two-run innings from the Bulls (59-51) in the second and third.

Charlotte picked back up a run in the sixth when Josh Phegley knocked in Marcus Semien with a sacrifice fly, but that’s all they’d get off of Alex Colome, who is ranked by Baseball America as the Tampa Bay Rays’ No. 3 prospect.

Colome allowed two hits over seven innings and struck out five to record his fifth win of the season and even the four-game series at one-game apiece.

Despite the loss, the moment that stands out, and will continue to stand out, from Wednesday was Danks’ single. 

There's a bit of a stigma attached to minor league records because they tend to act as reminders that a player is still a step away from their ultimate goal, but this one speaks to Danks' resolve and consistency.

“My wife said to me the other day, ‘I hope you’re proud of yourself because this is pretty cool. Even though you don’t want to be in the minor leagues, it’s pretty cool.’”

“And it is,” Danks said. “For sure.”