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The Knights don’t win a lot of games, but they seem to have a penchant for walk-off double header sweeps.
It was almost one year ago (Aug. 18, 2021) that the Knights swept the Norfolk Tides in Charlotte, including a game in which former outfielder Mikie Mahtook hit a walk-off grand slam. In the second game, Laz Rivera, only one month removed from a promotion from Birmingham, doubled over the center fielder’s head to bring in the winning run.
Mahtook would finish the epic twin bill with two homers and a double, and Micker Adolfo would chip in two round trippers himself.
In a doubleheader Friday night in Charlotte, the Knights once again had last-inning heroics not once but twice.
In game one, it looked bleak after Gwinnett posted three runs in the top of the 7th to extend its lead to 4-0. (MILB double headers are seven-inning games.)
But the Knights went to work as Rivera beat out an infield single and Xavier Fernandez singled to center. After a Zach Remillard strikeout, Mark Payton hit a shot that Gwinnett left fielder Preston Tucker caught, only to be steam-rolled by center fielder Greyson Jenista. The ball popped out of Tucker’s glove as he tumbled to the ground and Payton was awarded with an RBI double. (Tucker would be carted off the field.)
Lenyn Sosa came up next and tied the game with a 3-run shot over the right-center wall. The hit parade continued with an Adam Haseley double and a Blake Rutherford game-winning RBI single to right.
In game two, the Knights battled back from a 3-2 deficit with a game-tying run in the 8th on a Nick Ciuffo double and the walk-off an inning later when Remillard singled home Jake Burger, who had walked to open the inning and advanced to second on a Carlos Perez single and to third on a Haseley sac bunt.
MOMENTUM CARRIES INTO LAST NIGHT’S GAME
A relaxed, confident Knights’ squad wasted no time in jumping on the Braves’ farm team with four first-inning runs, aided by two Stripers’ errors.
Mark Payton and Jake Burger homers extended the lead and the Knights cruised to a 9-3 victory, their 6th win in seven games.
Vince Velasquez looked sharp, with two innings of hitless relief in his second rehab appearance this week. The plan was to throw three times this week so it is likely we’ll see him in today’s series finale.
Lenyn Sosa has two home runs on the season and they’ve come in back-to-back games this week. The White Sox announced today that they’ve recalled Sosa, presumably so that Tim Anderson can serve his suspension, and the timing could not be better as Sosa appears to be turning a corner in his adjustment to Triple-A.
Jason Bilous made his Triple-A debut in game #1 of the DH and started with two perfect innings before he lost control in the third, giving up a bloop single followed by three straight walks.
Jake Burger may be starting one of his runs, with home runs in the second game of the DH and again last night.
The bullpen has risen to the challenge of late. It was Declan Cronin and Vince Velasquez locking it down in game #1 of the DH; Rafael Dolis, Kade McClure, Yoan Aybar and Lane Ramsey with four innings of one-hit ball in game #2; and JB Olson, Dan Winkler, Andrew Perez and Bennett Sousa shutting the door last night.
Another unfortunate oddity this week: Gwinnett had outfield collisions in back-to-back games that resulted in players being carted off the field and, in last night’s game, being rushed to the hospital.
Reliever Lincoln Henzman was assigned to Birmingham. With the promotion this week of Bilous, the Knights are close to a full complement of starters, making it a bit tougher to get enough work for the 14 relievers in the pen.
White Sox Minor Keys
- Yolbert Sánchez went 1-for-4 with a K.
- Jake Burger went 2-for-4 with a homer and a strikeout.
- Carlos Pérez hit his first Triple-A triple during a 1-for-4 night.
- Adam Haseley was 0-for-2 with two walks.
Chattanooga 14, Birmingham 9 (10 innings)
- José Rodríguez didn’t homer, but he reached base four times on a double, single and two walks. He also struck out and was caught stealing.
- Oscar Colás was 0-for-5 with a strikeout.
- Yoelqui Céspedes homered twice, doubled, walked and struck out.
- Luke Shilling: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K
- Colson Montgomery went 2-for-4 with his first High-A triple.
- Bryan Ramos also was 2-for-4.
- Luis Mieses, 1-for-4 with a double.
- Adam Hackenberg was 1-for-3 with a K.
- Cristian Mena: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, 1 WP, 64 of 90 pitches for strikes.
- Wes Kath wnet 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.
- DJ Gladney, 1-for-3 with an HBP.
- Romy Gonzalez homered again for his 1-for-4, striking out twice.
- Dario Borrero also was 1-for-4.
- Victor Quezada went 0-for-3 with a walk, and was picked off.
- Cam Butler, 2-for-4 with a stolen base.
- Erick Bello: 1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
- Emerson Talavera: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K