Charlotte Knights

Charlotte bullpen runs out of steam; Knights lose to Braves 7-4

Micah Johnson scores a run for the Charlotte Knights on Thursday as Gwinnett Braves catcher Jose Yepez waits for the throw at BB&T BallPark on Thursday night.
Micah Johnson scores a run for the Charlotte Knights on Thursday as Gwinnett Braves catcher Jose Yepez waits for the throw at BB&T BallPark on Thursday night. rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

Entering the top of the ninth inning in Thursday’s game against the Gwinnett Braves, the Charlotte Knights’ bullpen had been stellar, pitching four shutout innings and allowing one hit.

With the Knights holding a 4-1 lead, reliever Matt Lindstrom, who hadn’t surrendered a run since May 28, took the mound and a victory seemed within reach.

But behind a five-hit outburst against Lindstrom, the Braves scored six runs en route to a 7-4 victory against the Knights at BB&T BallPark. The six runs allowed by Lindstrom broke a streak of 132/3 consecutive innings without allowing a run.

The Charlotte bullpen took over in the top of the fifth inning, when right-hander Matt Albers entered a tied game and pitched a perfect inning. Micah Johnson broke the 1-1 tie in the bottom fifth on a RBI triple and later scored to put the Knights up 3-1.

Right-hander Maikel Cleto relieved Albers in the sixth inning and pitched two scoreless innings before handing the ball to Lindstrom in the eighth.

Lindstrom pitched a perfect eighth to continue his scoreless innings streak, but the Braves recorded four consecutive hits with one out in the ninth to take the lead.

Quote

“The whole night (the bullpen had been impressive). It’s just one of those innings where it just got away. A couple of balls got elevated, and that’s baseball.” — Charlotte manager Joel Skinner on the bullpen’s performance.

Worth mentioning

Junior Guerra, who was optioned to Charlotte on Wednesday, started for the Knights and pitched four innings, surrendering one earned run on two hits and striking out two batters. … Charlotte right-hander Erik Johnson (7-5, 2.86) originally was scheduled to start Thursday, but his start was skipped in order to give him some extra rest, Skinner said.

What’s next?

The Knights (44-36) and Braves (41-38) play a day-night doubleheader Friday at BB&T BallPark. The games are scheduled for 12:05 p.m. and 7:05 p.m. The Knights’ Miguel Chalas (0-3, 4.58) is scheduled to start against left-hander Greg Smith (2-3, 2.26) in Game 1. Brad Penny (3-3, 4.31) will get the start in Game 2 against Jorge Reyes, who was 5-4 with a 2.38 ERA for Mississippi of the Southern League.

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