Tuesday, April 28, 2015

No comeback on Tuesday for Charlotte Knights, who fall 6-2 to Toledo

The Charlotte Knights fell 6-2 to the Toledo Mud Hens in front of 9,047 at BB&T Ballpark on Tuesday night to even their three-game series at one-game apiece.

Mud Hens’ starter Tim Melville (1-2) held the Knights offense scoreless on one hit over six innings of work to record his first-career Class AAA win. The right-hander walked four and struck out five.

The Knights, who went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, finished the game with a season-low four hits.

Veteran right-hander Brad Penny (1-2) returned from the disabled list to make his third start of the season for the Knights. He allowed an unearned run and four hits over four innings of work.

Penny -- who induced seven ground-ball outs on Tuesday -- was placed on the DL back on April 15 with an undisclosed injury.

Toledo, which carried a 3-0 lead into the sixth inning – broke the game open against Knights’ reliever Arcenio Leon, scoring three runs over his 1 2/3 innings of work to take a 6-0 edge into the bottom of the seventh.

Dan Black, who tied Monday's game (that was later won in the 10th inning thanks to a Jason Coats walk-off single) with a ninth-inning home run, continued to swing a hot bat when he knocked in Trayce Thompson from first base with a double to right with no outs in the seventh off Mud Hens’ reliever Rafael Dolis.

Black would take third on a Kevan Smith ground out and, following a Jared Mitchell walk, come in to score on a Leury Garcia single.
After failing to score in the eighth, the Knights brought the tying run to the on-deck circle in the bottom of the ninth, but ultimately came up short in their third comeback attempt in as many games.

With his 2-for-3 performance on Tuesday night, Black has now reached base in 17-straight games (dating back to last season) with the Knights. He is now batting a team-leading .368 on the season despite limited playing time early in the year.

Worth mentioning
White Sox right-hander Javy Guerra (with Knights on a MLB rehab assignment) allowed two runs on three hits in an inning of relief. He threw 24 pitches (14 for strikes) and struck out one. ... Maikel Cleto turned in a scoreless 2 1/3 innings of relief and has now not allowed a run in his last 19 2/3 innings of work dating back to last season. … The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Knights. Their season-long winning streak is four games (April 15-18). … Three members of the AHL Charlotte Checkers -- John Muse, Zach Boychuk and Dennis Robertson -- took batting practice at BB&T Ballpark prior to Tuesday’s game. …Continued protests over the death of Freddie Gray caused the postponement of the White Sox (the parent club of the Knights) – Orioles game in Baltimore on Tuesday. The White Sox and Orioles will resume their disrupted series Wednesday afternoon at 2:05 p.m. in a contest that is closed to the public.

“(Melville) was just mixing his pitches well and he had us off balance and found a way to get the ball passed us at the plate. We’ll come back out here tomorrow and get some hits.” – Knights first baseman Dan Black.

"Everything about (Cleto's) game. He’s repeating his delivery. He’s staying compact, and as a result of that he’s commanding the baseball and he’s mixing up all his pitches. He’s got a great arm to go with all that, so he’s just kind of harnessed his game.” – Knights' manager Joel Skinner on the difference he’s seen in RHP Maikel Cleto this season.

“(Black’s) doing a great job. Like we tell all our guys, you need to take advantage of your opportunities and he’s getting an opportunity because of some injuries that have opened some things up and he’s taking advantage. It’s good to see.” – Skinner on Dan Black’s recent performance.

“He hasn’t pitched in two weeks and was able to get a couple good side (sessions) in. The biggest thing tonight was that (Penny) felt fine physically.” – Skinner on Brad Penny’s first start since April 14.

What's next?
The Knights and Mud Hens will play the final game of their three-game series at BB&T Ballpark on Wednesday at 11:05 a.m. Erik Johnson (2-1, 0.75) will look to continue his stellar stat this season for the Knights across from Thad Weber (2-1, 5.63).