Monday, August 25, 2014

Knights use four-run eighth inning to complete sweep of Tides

There was no walk-off magic for the Charlotte Knights on Monday.

Instead, they took care of things in the eighth inning.

After receiving a walk-off home run from Josh Richmond in the 11th inning on Saturday and a send-them-home single from Michael Taylor in the ninth on Sunday, it was an infield-single off the bat of Jared Mitchell in the eighth that led Charlotte to a 6-4 win over the Norfolk Tides.

Although not as exciting a finish as the crowds at BB&T BallPark had seen the past two nights, Monday’s eighth inning – which began with the Knights trailing 4-2 – was still one to watch for the 9,697 on hand.

Marcus Semien (2-for-3) got things started with a leadoff single and then came around to score on the very next pitch when Josh Phegley connected on his 23rd home run of the season.

“I knew (Norfolk pitcher Ryan Webb (0-2)) was kind of a sinker-slider guy and I didn’t see him starting me off with a slider in my first AB against him,” Phegley said. “So I was just trying to see something hard, middle-in, and he threw it right in there and I got the barrel to it.” 

The Knights (62-76) weren’t done scoring there.

Following singles by Andy Wilkins (2-for-4) and Matt Davidson (1-for-3), Matt Tuiasosopo walked to load the bases with one out.

After a fielder’s choice, Mitchell stepped into the batter’s box and recorded one of the shortest singles of his season, squibbing a ball that at first looked like it was heading foul down the first-base line.

“First off, that was a horrible swing I put on it,” Mitchell said. “I started down the line thinking it’d be fair and then on the first bounce it took off to the right, so I slowed up, and then the next bounce it came right back toward the field and I knew I had to start running."

The throw from Webb to first base got away, allowing two runs to score. 

“We kind of just got lucky right there,” Mitchell said. “Sometimes that’s how the ball rolls for you.” 

With Knights regularly scheduled starter, Chris Beck, on the disabled list, Daniel McCutchen combined with Matt Zaleski to hold the Tides (61-75) to three runs (two earned) on nine hits over seven innings. 

Jarrett Casey (1-2) then came on to toss the final two innings to record his first Class-AAA win and complete a four-game sweep of Norfolk for the Knights, who will now head to Norfolk for two more against the Tides.

“You just try to create opportunities for each other and that’s what the guys have been doing lately,” Knights manager Joel Skinner said. “When you win games late, usually it’s because the pitching gives you a chance – and that’s what happened tonight.”

NOTES: Chicago outfielder Moises Sierra, who is currently on the DL (left oblique), began his MLB rehab assignment with the Knights and went 2-for-5 with a run scored and a stolen base. ... Prior to Monday’s game, the White Sox optioned Jordan Danks back to Charlotte. Danks hit .289 in 12 games with a home run and four runs batted in during his recent stint with the White Sox.