Charlotte Knights pitcher Brad Penny has spent the past four years trying to get back to the major leagues, and stay there.
A few more performances like he turned in Tuesday against the Gwinnett Braves, and Penny might find himself on the Chicago White Sox’s September roster.
Penny threw shutout ball for seven innings, and the Knights held on for a rain-delayed 3-2 International League victory over the Braves at BB&T BallPark.
Backed up by a pair of home runs, Charlotte (61-56) snapped a three-game losing streak, and evened its IL South division series with Gwinnett (62-54) at 1-1.
Penny, a two-time All-Star with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2006-07, scattered seven hits and struck out five in winning for the first time in his past four decisions.
“I just made better pitches,” said Penny, now 6-6 on the season. “I wasn’t concerned about anything else other than what I could control. I had faith in the guys that they were going to get the job done.”
The Knights took the lead in the bottom of the third inning on Jason Coats’ 14th home run of the season, then went up 3-0 when Rob Brantly belted a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth.
However, after a 78-minute rain delay, the Braves tagged Knights reliever Zach Phillips for a pair of runs in the top of the eighth inning. But Charlotte closer Junior Guerra struck out two of the three batters he faced in the top of the ninth to record his third save.
Penny “threw the ball well. It was what we needed. He had a couple innings that he had to wiggle out of, but he pounded the strike zone. You’re going to have times where your stuff isn’t going to go where you want it to go, but tonight he commanded his pitches.” – Knights manager Joel Skinner.
Chicago White Sox second baseman Emilio Bonafacio began a major league rehab assignment with the Knights on Tuesday. The White Sox also assigned infielder Cleuluis Rondon back to Advanced-A Winston-Salem on Tuesday.
The Knights host the Braves in the third game of their four-game IL South division series on Wednesday night at BB&T BallPark. Game time is 7:05 p.m. Right-hander Scott Carroll (5-2, 2.67 ERA) will start for Charlotte; lefty Greg Smith (5-4, 2.31 ERA) will be on the mound for Gwinnett.