Micah Johnson’s return from the disabled list and Jordan Danks’ four-hit game highlighted what was otherwise a dreary afternoon for the Charlotte Knights, who dropped a rain-delayed 13-9 decision to the Clippers on Sunday.
Johnson laced a standup triple in his second at-bat since being sidelined with a hamstring strain on May 23 and followed it up with a double in the fifth.
“It felt good,” said Johnson. “It felt like Opening Day again for me just because I’ve never been hurt before and had to take time away from the game. That time off puts everything in perspective. It reminds you how much you really enjoy playing.“
The 23-year-old, who batted in the Knights’ leadoff spot, finished the game 2-for-5 with two runs.
In his fourth at-bat, Johnson hit a chopper to second and narrowly missed legging out an infield single, while showing no signs of holding back.
“Micah brings speed and energy,” Knights manager Joel Skinner said. “So it’s nice to see him physically back on the field. Once his legs started feeling better, he improved pretty rapidly.
Danks connected on his fifth home run in five days (six games) – a three-run shot in the ninth – and finished the game with four RBI and a run.
The four-hit performance by Danks brought his average up 23 points to .233. Over the past 10 games, the centerfielder is hitting .395 (15-for-38) with 10 runs scored, six doubles and 13 RBI.
“I went through a bit of a rough patch there in the beginning of the season and I’ve been working with (Knights hitting coach Andy Tomberlin) on my bat path,” Danks said. “I was pulling off everything. I’ve corrected that path and the balls been flying a little bit better.“
Pulling off the ball left Danks vulnerable to pitches on the outer half of the plate, forcing him to take them or roll a groundball over to second.
“Now, I’m staying through it and worrying about barreling the ball and not swinging too hard and it’s been working out for me,” he added.
Carlos Sanchez had his seventh 3-hit game of the season, raising the 21-year-old’s batting average to a team-high .305, one point ahead of Tyler Saladino.
Charlotte starter Tommy Hanson put his club in the hole early, allowing six runs in his first two innings of work and not making it out of the fifth.
In 4 2/3 innings, Hanson allowed nine runs on six hits. He walked five and threw a season-high 111 pitches (61 for strikes).
Charlotte reliever Taylor Thompson saw his scoreless-inning streak come to an end at 16, when the Clippers touched up the right-hander for two runs on two hits and three walks in the ninth.
The loss was the sixth in the team’s past seven games and second straight to the Clippers, whom they will host for game three of a four-game series on Monday.
Asheville 7, Kannapolis 6: The visiting Intimidators built a 6-0 lead before the Tourists scored seven unanswered runs. All-Star Correlle Prime’s solo home run broke a 6-6 tie.
Hickory 4, West Virginia 2 (6): Chad Bell (2-0) won for the host Crawdads when the game was called after six innings for rain.
Clippers 13, Knights 9
Sunday’s box score
LOB–COL: 8; CHA: 7. 2B–Danks. 3B–Johnson. HR—Mitchell. SF–Sanchez.
WP-Arias. HBP-Mitchell. T- 3:38. A-9,410.
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