The Charlotte Knights and Durham Bulls entered Wednesday night as two of the teams locked in a three-way tie for first place in the International League South division. The Knights were able put themselves atop the standings with a 4-2 victory in Durham ona three-run home run by Jason Coats.
The Knights were able to take an early 1-0 lead when Matt Davidson doubled to lead-off the second inning and later scored on a wild pitch by Bulls pitcher Matt Buschmann.
Micah Johnson started the fifth frame with a lead-off double of his own, and after Tyler Saladino was hit by a Buschmann pitch, Coats was able to give the Knights a 4-0 advantage with his fourth home run of the season. The longball was originally ruled as a two-RBI double, but after the umpire crew discussed the play, it was correctly determined that the ball crossed over the yellow line on top of the right-center field wall for a home run.
The three-run homer gave Coats 31 RBIs on the season, tying him with Matt Davidson for the team lead despite starting his season in Double-A with the Birmingham Barons. The 25-year-old Texan is batting .287, which ranks second on the team among active, qualified hitters.
RHP Chris Beck looked sharp in his first start since making his major-league debut with the White Sox on May 28, retiring the first 10 batters he faced on Wednesday. He would go on to scatter three hits over four scoreless innings but did not factor in the decision.
Matt Lindstrom would relieve the Knights starter in the fifth inning, and Idaho native picked up where Beck left off, hurling two scoreless innings of one-hit baseball to earn his first win of the season.
The Bulls threatened in the bottom of the seventh inning by loading the bases against LHP Onelki Garcia, but the lefty was able to induce a double-play ball and a fly-out to escape the inning with only one run allowed.
Curt Casali would cut the Knights lead to 4-2 with a lead-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, but RHP Maikel Cleto would then retire the next three batters to shut the door on the Bulls and earn his first save of the season.
The Knights and Bulls will play the rubber match of their three-game series on Thursday night, with RHP Shawn Haviland set to take on LHP Scott Diamond in the 7:05 p.m. matchup. The Knights will return to uptown Charlotte on Friday night to take on the Norfolk Tides in a three-game weekend series.