Charlotte Knights

Erik Johnson pitches 8 shutout innings, hands Charlotte Knights 7th straight win

Charlotte Knights pitcher Erik Johnson fires off a pitch during Sunday's game played at BB&T BallPark June 21,2015. The Charlotte Knights won 13-1.
Charlotte Knights pitcher Erik Johnson fires off a pitch during Sunday's game played at BB&T BallPark June 21,2015. The Charlotte Knights won 13-1. rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

The Charlotte Knights scored 13 runs during Sunday’s game, but the first player mentioned by manager Joel Skinner during a post-game interview didn’t pick up a bat.

Behind Erik Johnson’s eight shutout innings, Charlotte provided more than enough run support, hitting six home runs to give the Knights a 13-1 victory over the Indianapolis Indians. With the win, the Knights have won seven straight games.

After a quick top of the first inning by Johnson, Charlotte’s offensive explosion began when Micah Johnson led off the bottom with a solo home run to put the Knights up 1-0.

Charlotte (40-29) scored five more runs in the bottom of the first inning, capped by a grand slam by catcher George Kottaras. The home run was his first of the game, as his solo shot in the bottom of the fifth inning gave the Knights a 12-0 lead.

Micah Johnson and Matt Davidson both finished with two home runs as well, and Erik Johnson surrendered only four hits to the Indians (42-28) while also striking out nine .

Over his past three starts, Erik Johnson has now pitched 25 innings without allowing an earned run.

Quote

“You go out and you score some runs early, but it all goes back to pitching. What Erik Johnson did today allowed all of that to take place. He set the tone going out there in the first inning. All of the guys obviously scored for him, but he didn’t let up and it was just a well-rounded game from that standpoint.” –Skinner on Erik Johnson’s performance.

Worth mentioning

The Knights’ six home runs tied a franchise high. Charlotte has hit six home runs on five other occasions, the most recent instance coming on July 17, 2014 against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. ... With his two home runs on Sunday, Davidson now has 13 home runs this season. After entering Sunday in a tie with Durham’s J.P. Arencibia for the International League lead, Davidson was in sole possession of the lead by the end of Charlotte’s game.

What’s next?

The Knights embark on a 10-game road trip starting on Monday at 7:05 p.m. in Syracuse. The Chiefs are slated to pitch right-handed pitcher Paolo Espino (1-0, 1.56). The starting pitcher for Charlotte is TBA. The Knights return to BB&T BallPark on July 2 to face the Gwinnett Braves.

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