Former Providence High standout Richie Shaffer, a 2012 first-round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays, had and two RBIs Sunday to help the Durham Bulls knock off Charlotte 4-2 and drop the Knights 41/2 games behind first-place Norfolk in the Class AAA International League’s South Division.
Jason Coats homered and drove in both of Charlotte’s runs in the finale of the four-game series at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The Knights now will move on to Norfolk to play the Tides in a two-game series starting at 7:05 p.m. Monday.
After beginning the season with Class AA Birmingham, Coats was promoted to the Knights on April 23 after hitting .340 with nine doubles and two RBIs over 12 games with the Barons. A 29th-round selection of the Chicago White Sox in the 2012 draft out of Texas Christian, Coats has impressed with the Knights. Sunday, he drove in Charlotte’s first run in the first inning on a single. Five innings later, he launched his 17th home run of the season.
Coats is hitting .267 with 17 home runs and 80 RBIs in 114 games with Charlotte. He has 82 combined RBIs this season between Charlotte and Birmingham and has a third consecutive 80-RBI season. His two RBIs on Sunday however were all the Knights could muster.
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Durham starter Blake Snell (5-2, 1.60 ERA) allowed one run on four hits over five innings. The left-hander walked two and struck out six as Durham beat the Knights for the second time in the series.
Charlotte starter Terance Marin allowed four runs on six hits over 42/3 innings. Marin lost for just the second time this season as a starter. A native of Modesto, Calif., he is 3-2 with a 2.70 ERA in nine starts with Charlotte this year.
Now comes the Tides. If Charlotte has hopes of postseason play, it will need to beat Norfolk and close the gap in the standings. The Knights are three games behind the Columbus Clippers in the wild-card standings.
Right-hander Hector Noesi (2-4, 3.81 ERA) is scheduled to get the start Monday for the Knights against left-hander Chris Jones (8-6, 2.91).