There was no late-inning comeback in the cards Thursday for the Charlotte Knights.
The Knights, hampered by a strong pitching performance from the Durham Bulls, saw their four-game winning streak at BB&T Ballpark end with a 4-0 loss.
The loss also dropped Charlotte (57-43) out of the International League South lead, falling a half-game back of the Norfolk Tides (56-41). The flip-flop in the standings came after the Tides beat Pawtucket 5-4 earlier Thursday.
Durham starter Matt Andriese and Andrew Bellatti combined for a four-hit shutout. Andriese (2-1, 1.84 ERA) got the win by allowing just two hits and striking out seven. Bellatti earned his first save by striking out five and giving up two hits.
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The Bulls got to Knights starter Hector Noesi for a pair of runs in the sixth inning, and tacked on two more in the ninth off reliever Maikel Cleto.
While Charlotte’s pitching staff combined for 11 strikeouts Thursday – seven of them by Noesi, making just his second start – the Knights also allowed seven walks. All four Durham runs came from runners who reached on walks.
Still, Charlotte had a chance in the bottom of the ninth, putting runners on first and third base with one out. But Bellatti struck out the next two batters to end the game.
“That’s pretty much the story – we couldn’t score. You’ve got to give them credit – their guys pitched well, and we weren’t able to score. Regardless of whether it’s one run or four runs, we didn’t get it done.” –Knights manager Joel Skinner.
Utility man Leury Garcia, who has started at six different positions for the Knights this season, was called up by White Sox on Thursday morning. He took the roster spot of Emilio Bonifacio, who went on bereavement leave. Garcia has started 72 games for Charlotte this season, more than half (37) at shortstop. He was third in the league in stolen bases (27) and 11th in batting (.301). ... Thursday’s game started about 10 minutes behind schedule because of an afternoon shower that forced ground crews to cover the field 75 minutes before game time.
The Knights hit the road for their next 10 games, beginning with a three-game series against the Gwinnett Braves at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, Ga. Friday’s opener is at 7:05 p.m.