Brad Penny pitched into the seventh inning on Friday, Leury Garcia homered, and the Charlotte Knights beat the Durham Bulls by a score of 5-2 in game two of their four-game series at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
The win was Charlotte’s fourth in their past five games. The Knights are 41/2 games back of first-place Norfolk in the International League South Division and just 11/2 games behindsecond-place Gwinnett.
Penny (7-8, 4.10) was sharp over 62/3 innings as he beat the Bulls for the second time this season. The 37-year-old right-hander allowed two runs on five hits, while striking out three batters. The Oklahoma native cruised through the first six innings of the game, holding the Bulls scoreless. He also had a lead thanks to his offense.
The Knights scored their first two runs of the game in the third inning off Durham starter Matt Moore (2-3, 3.57). Drew Garcia led the inning off with a single and later scored on an RBI double by Leury Garcia. Two batters later, Moore had problems with his control. The Florida native threw back-to-back wild pitches, which eventually scored Garcia for Charlotte’s second run of the game.
With the Knights ahead by a score of 2-0, the team was in search of more runs in the sixth inning. Moore once again had troubles with his control and loaded the bases for Kevan Smith. The Durham left-hander then hit Smith with a pitch, which allowed Matt Davidson to score the club’s third run of the game.
The Bulls scored their only two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and knocked Penny out of the game. Corey Brown singled home Taylor Motter for Durham’s first run of the night. Jake Elmore followed with a single and then Motter and Elmore completed a successful double steal. Penny then walked Hak-Ju Lee, and his night was complete. The Knights called on reliever Junior Guerra to get out of the inning.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Guerra walked Thursday’s hero – Luke Maile – which pulled the Bulls to within one run (3-2). Guerra battled back and then retired Mikie Mahtook to end the inning.
Charlotte added two insurance runs along the way en route to their 70th win of the season. Matt Tuiasosopo hit an RBI double in the top of the eighth inning, and Leury Garcia added a solo home run in the top of the ninth. Garcia is now batting .294 on the season after recording two hits on Friday.
Reliever Zach Phillips allowed two hits in the ninth, but struck-out three to close out the game for Charlotte. The save was his team-high 11th of the season.
The two teams will continue their series on Saturday at 6:35 p.m. from Durham. RHP Scott Carroll (6-4, 3.56) will get the start for the Knights against Durham LHP Everett Teaford 5-8, 5.34). Pre-game radio coverage begins at 6:20 p.m. on ESPN 730 AM and www.charlotteknights.com. The “Voice of the Charlotte Knights” Matt Swierad will have the call for all of the action.