A couple of hours removed from earning International League Batter of the Week honors, Micah Johnson stepped to the plate on Monday and hit a leadoff home run.
The home run marked the first of three solo shots hit by the Charlotte Knights in the first inning and set the tone for another stellar offensive performance by Johnson in a 5-2 win over the Durham Bulls at BB&T BallPark.
Johnson finished the game 3-for-4 with a home run, an RBI and two runs. He is batting .542 with two home runs, nine runs scored, three RBI and four stolen bases since Thursday.
Johnson’s offensive outburst helped provide Charlotte starting pitcher Erik Johnson (8-5, 2.59) enough run support to claim his eighth victory, tying him for second in the IL.
The Knights (55-42), who currently lead the IL South Division, added two more runs in the first inning on solo home runs by Jason Coats and Matt Davidson. Charlotte tacked on one more run in the fifth inning on a RBI double by Coats.
Micah Johnson’s final at-bat came in the seventh inning, and he capped his evening with his second single before scoring the Knights’ fifth run on an RBI triple by Leury Garcia.
“My job is just to get one base. I’m a free swinger, so I don’t really look for balls or take pitches. But if I see a pitch early on in the count I know I can hit, I’m going to swing. It just so happens I’m going through a stretch right now where I’m getting on base. – Johnson on his role at the top of the batting order.
After being removed from Sunday’s game for precautionary reasons due to leg cramps, Trayce Thompson didn’t play in Monday’s game, breaking his streak of 104 consecutive games. The streak dated back to Aug. 23. He leads the IL with 96 games played this season. ... Jason Coats leads the Knights with 57 RBI this season and entered Monday tied for second in the IL in that category.
The Knights and Bulls will play Game 2 of their four-game series at 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday. Charlotte right-hander Brad Penny (4-3, 3.94) is slated to start across from left-hander Robert Zarate (1-0, 2.28).