Lehigh Valley did plenty to let Charlotte back into Thursday’s game at BB&T BallPark, walking seven Knights, committing three errors, and allowing two unearned runs.
But in the end, Thursday night’s 8-6 Knights loss in front of a sellout crowd of 10,285 became more about its missed opportunities than anything else.
The Knights left six men on base, finished 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position and hit into three double plays, all of which came off the bat of Dan Black.
Charlotte’s designated hitter ended the first, third and seventh innings with double plays, although the one in the seventh inning was more a result of poor base running by Josh Phegley than anything Black did.
“You can always look back and say what if this, or what if that,” said Knights manager Joel Skinner, whose squad fell to 12-21 on the season after splitting the four-game series with the IronPigs (17-16). “There were some opportunities, but I think the important thing to look at is that we just need to keep on creating those opportunities.”
In his second rehab appearance with the Knights this season, Felipe Paulino was not sharp. The 30-year-old right-hander allowed seven runs and seven hits in three innings.
His fastball was consistently in the 93-94 mph range, but his control was clearly rusty – a fact IronPigs third baseman Reid Brignac took advantage of. Brignac went 2-for-2 off Paulino with two three-run home runs.
Following Paulino’s scheduled three innings of work, Eric Surkamp came on in relief. The left-hander did a nice job quieting Lehigh Valley, allowing just one run in the game’s final six innings, while striking out seven.
“I think (Paulino’s struggles) were more from his command issues than anything else,” said Skinner. “Pretty much that was it. Physically, he was fine, and that’s part of the whole process.
“(Surkamp’s) done that piggyback with Paulino twice now because that’s his day, and he’s done fine,” added Skinner. “He got himself prepared to pitch (todayThursday), and he threw the ball well.”
Andy Wilkins finished the night 3-for-5 with a three-run home run and four total runs batted in for the Knights, while Gorkys Hernandez went (2-for-5, two doubles 2 2B) and Carlos Sanchez (1-for-3, 2 BB) each reached base three times.
“I feel good,” said Wilkins, who/se/ home run made the score 8-6 in the fifth inning. “I’m just trying to stay with a consistent approach and help the team as much as I can. I haven’t been able to do that very much this season, so it felt nice to contribute tonight, just wish we could have gotten the win.”
The hit for Sanchez extended his current hitting streak to 11 games and his on-base streak to 24 games. Since April 11, the Knights second baseman is hitting .330 (29-for-88).
Wilkins came to bat representing the game-tying run with Sanchez on second in the bottom of the ninth with two outs, but wound up striking out against Cesar Jimenez, who picked up his first save of the season for the IronPigs.
Charlotte will host now welcome the Buffalo Bisons to town for a four-game series beginning on Friday.
E — Cedeno, R 2 (3, throw, throw), Brignac (3, fielding). DP–3 (Tolbert-Cedeno, R-Franco, Franco-Cedeno, R-Lincoln, Henson-Franco); 2 (Saladino-Sanchez, C-Wilkins 2). LOB–Lehigh Valley 6, Charlotte 6. 2B–Gillies (3, Paulino), Hernandez, Go 2 (6, Lincoln, Lincoln). HR—Brignac 2 (5, 1st inning off Paulino, 2 on, 1 out; 3rd inning off Paulino, 2 on, 0 out), Wilkins (6, 5th inning off Aumont, 2 on, 1 out). SB–Henson (6, 2nd base off Paulino/Phegley); Hernandez, Go (4, 3rd base off Lincoln/Hill, K), Liddi (1, 2nd base off Aumont/Hill, K). CS—Cedeno, R (2, 2nd base by Paulino/Phegley).
|Horst (W, 1-1)||2.0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Jimenez (S, 1)||1.0||0||0||0||1||2|
|Paulino (L, 0-1)||3.0||7||7||7||3||1|
WP-Horst. HBP-Murphy, Ji (by Surkamp), Gillies (by Surkamp).
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