It’s one of those things in baseball that you can’t really explain, there’s no rhyme or reason to it, but anyone who watches the game enough will swear by it.
More times than not, the player who makes a spectacular defensive play to end an inning invariably will lead off the next. Ask around if you’re not familiar with the phenomenon.
It was Jordan Danks who did the honors Tuesday night in the Knights’ 9-8 win against the Louisville Bats in front of a group of 8,548 at BB&T BallPark.
The game was halted by a 1-hour, 17-minute rain delay.
With a run already home in the sixth inning and the potential tying run on first, Tucker Barnhart smacked a ball to dead center – exactly where you don’t want to hit a ball in Charlotte.
“It’s kind of a graveyard out there,” Danks said of center this week. “It’s probably one of the areas in the part that really does play true.”
As the ball traveled towards the triangle just below the batter’s eye adorned with the 400-foot sign, so too did 6-foot-4-inch Danks, gaining ground with each stride.
Danks pulled the ball in over his right shoulder as he hit the warning track.
He then made his way back to the dugout, grabbed his helmet, stepped to the plate and cracked his 11th home run of the season to put Charlotte ahead 4-2.
“It’s a one out of nine chance,” Knights manager Joel Skinner said with a chuckle. “That’s the odds. That’s something that people talk about, but that’s always my candid answer. Sometimes I’ll ask the players what the odds are and then say, ‘They’re one-in-nine.’ ”
Following the delay, things got sloppy.
The Knights added two runs in what ended up being a two-hour sixth inning on a two-run shot off the bat of Matt Tuiasosopo, then they allowed four run in the seventh when Mitchell Boggs came on and allowed three hits and a while failing to retire a batter.
In the bottom half Charlotte regained a one-run lead, only to give it back in theeighth and then, once more, reclaim it in the next frame.
The winning hit came on a two-out RBI single by Carlos Sanchez that got past the right fielder and allowed Tyler Saladino to score from first.
“Give credit to Saladino,” Skinner said. “He kept his head down and gave (third base coach) Ryan (Newman) something to work with coming around third."
The teams combined to for 12 hits and 11 runs after the delay, before Ryan Kussmaul was able to retire the side in order in the ninth for his third save.
Charlotte finishedwith 13 hits, three each by Saladino (3-for-5) and Micahel Taylor (3-for-4, RBI).
“We just had good at-bats,” Saladino said. “That’s what it came down to.”
Knights 9, Bats 8
E — Taylor, Tuiasosopo, Selsky. LOB–Louisville 6, Charlotte 5. 2B–Davidson, Taylor. HR—Gotay, Gonzalez, Danks, Navarro, Tuiasosopo.
HBP-Neal (by Hill). T-2:47 (1:18 delay). A-8,548.