Sunday, May 3, 2015

Knights close seven-game home stand with 6-5 loss to RailRiders

An otherwise successful seven-game home stand came to an end with a 6-5 Charlotte Knights’ loss to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in front of a sold-out crowd of 10,349 at BB&T Ballpark on Sunday.

The Knights (14-9), who currently sit a game ahead of the Durham Bulls for first place in the International League, finished the home stand 4-3, after taking two of three from the Toledo Mud Hens and splitting a four-game set with the RailRiders (12-13).

On Sunday, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre took advantage of Brad Penny’s (1-3, 7.27 ERA) lack of pinpoint control, knocking the Knights’ 36-year-old right-hander out of that game after four innings of work.

Penny – who made his second start since his return from the disabled list – allowed five runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out five, while throwing just 62-percent strikes (59 of 93).

The Knights scored all except one of their runs in the second inning off RailRiders’ southpaw Eric Wooten (1-3, 5.16 ERA). Matt Davidson led the inning off with a walk. After a single by Trayce Thompson, Dan Black also earned a free pass, loading the bases with no outs.

An Engel Beltre fielder’s choice brought home Davidson, before Jason Coats connected on a two-run double to centerfield that bounced in and out of the glove of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre centerfielder. Jeremy Dowdy then doubled home Coats to tie the game at 4-4.

The RailRiders added a run in the fourth and Kyle Roller took Eric Surkamp deep in the seventh for the eventual game-winning run.      
“He’s coming off missing a couple starts, so he is still a bit of a work in progress. I think the key at this stage right now is on the physical side of things, and today he was able to throw 90 or so pitches. Obviously he wants to be more efficient, but on the flipside of that, the physical parts looked good.” – Knights’ manager Joel Skinner on Brad Penny.

Worth mentioning
With a hit and a walk on Sunday, Charlotte Knights’ designated hitter Dan Black (1 for 3, R, RBI) has now reached base in an International League-best 22-straight games (dating back to last season). Black entered Sunday leading the IL in on-base percentage (.469) and slugging percentage (.667). … Carlos Sanchez, who became the first Knight since Ray Olmedo to record five hits in a game on Friday and then knocked four more on Saturday, remained hot at the plate, finishing Sunday 2-for-5 with a double. The 22-year-old is now hitting an IL-best .407 and is just three hits away from moving into a tie for fifth place all-time on the Knights’ hits list with Josh Fields (282). The two-hit game was Sanchez' fifth in a row. ... Jose Pirela, with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on a MLB rehab assignment from the New York Yankees, finished Sunday afternoon 4 for 5 with three doubles, a RBI and three runs scored. 

What's next?
The Knights are off tomorrow before heading to Columbus for a three-game series with the Clippers beginning on Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. RHP Erik Johnson (3-1, 2.04) will take the mound for the Knights against a Clippers’ starter that is still to be determined.