Charlotte Knights starter Shawn Hill retired nine of the first 10 Syracuse batters he faced Thursday, but even early on there were ominous signs for the right-hander who tends to live and die with his sinking fastball.
The Chiefs (55-37) twice hit fly balls to the warning track in the second and by the end of the inning had as many fly outs (three) as groundouts – not the kind of ratio Hill aspires for in his starts.
Without the bowling-ball type action to his fastball, Syracuse was able to rack up 10 hits off Hill in 61/3 innings on the way to an 11-6 win against the Knights (38-57) in front of 9,416 at BB&T BallPark.
Hill did what he could to hold the Chiefs in check without his best stuff, until the levees broke during a three-run sixth inning that featured a double and two home runs off the 33-year-old and turned a 3-2 Charlotte edge into a 5-3 deficit.
“I had nothing in my legs today,” said Hill (3-4). “I was just gassed from the travel and all that stuff. Even before the game started, I was trying to get things going. It’s not an excuse or anything. I felt OK the first couple of innings, but even then, not near as strong as my last start.”
The big hit of the sixth was a two-run home run by Tyler Moore (2-for-4) that came on a change-up Hill left up in the strike zone.
Steven Souza Jr., who entered the night leading the International League in batting average, finished 4-for-5 with three doubles, upping his average to .374.
Before the sixth-inning outburst by the Chiefs, the Knights’ Josh Phegley (3-for-4) looked like the sure headliner of the day.
After being added to the IL All-Star team earlier in the afternoon, the Knights catcher broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth with a shattered-bat single to left.
Blake Tekotte’s 11th home run of the season tied the game at 2 prior to Phegley’s go-ahead single, but did little to hide the rough defensive game for the Knights’ right fielder, who walked off the field with three errors.
CHIEFS 11, KNIGHTS 6
|Souza Jr. cf||5||2||4||2|
E — Tekotte 3, Walters. DP–Syracuse 2. LOB–Syracuse 9, Charlotte 7. 2B–Kobernus, Souza 3, Burriss. HR—Tekotte, Moore, Hood, Tuiasosopo. SB–Kobernus, Souza, Hood. CS—Souza.
|Treinen W, 5-0||5||8||3||3||2||4|
|Hill L, 3-4||61/3||10||6||6||0||3|
WP-Rodriguez. HBP-Burriss (by Hill). T-3:15. A-9,416.
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