LAWRENCEVILLE, GA -– Mike Minor was supposed to start for the Gwinnett Braves on Friday at BB&T Ballpark. Due to rain, the game was postponed and the two teams opened up a three-game series from Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, GA on Saturday.
Minor -- making his fourth Major League rehab appearance of the season -- allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits over six innings, Ernesto Mejia added four RBIs, and the Gwinnett Braves beat the Charlotte Knights 9-6 on Saturday.
Charlotte sent reigning International League Pitcher of the Week Scott Carroll (3-1, 1.57) to the hill on Saturday for the opening game. Carroll, the scheduled Charlotte starter on Friday, allowed six runs (four earned) on six hits over four innings and was saddled with his first loss of the season. Carroll started the season by not allowing a run in his first 19 innings of the season.
The Knights jumped on the scoreboard quickly in the top of the first inning and did so with help from catcher Josh Phegley and third baseman Matt Davidson. With one out in the first, Carlos Sanchez tripled off Minor (2-0, 3.24). Phegley followed with a sacrifice-fly RBI to give the Knights a 1-0 lead. Davidson then stepped in and sent his first home run of the season over the left field fence to make it a 2-0 ballgame.
In the bottom of the first inning, Gwinnett leaped out to a 5-2 lead with help from back-to-back walks to start the inning. Tommy La Stella singled to load the bases and Mejia followed with a game-tying two-run double. Carroll got the next batter Mark Hamilton to strike out for the first out of the inning. The runs for the Braves, however, kept coming.
Todd Cunningham followed with a two-run double to make it a 4-2 game. Edward Salcedo then reached base on a throwing error by Tyler Saladino to give Gwinnett a 5-2 lead at that point. The Braves tacked on four more runs along the way, including two in the bottom of the eighth inning off Charlotte reliever David Purcey.
The Knights battled back in the top of the ninth inning against Gwinnett reliever Pedro Beato. Charlotte drew three walks in the frame and a two-run double by Dan Black gave the Knights hope in the final frame. In all, the Knights scored three runs in the ninth, but fell short in the inning when Tyler Saladino struck-out to end the game.
Gwinnett had a game-high 12 hits and beat the Knights for the third straight game. Charlotte has dropped five straight games overall.
The two teams will play the middle game of their series on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. from Coolray Field. RHP Tommy Hanson -- a former Gwinnett Braves pitcher -- will make his season debut on Sunday for the Knights, while Gwinnett will send former Knights RHP Zach Stewart to the mound. Stewart won the final game in Knights Stadium history on September 2, 2013.
Pre-game radio coverage of Sunday’s 2:05 p.m. game starts at 1:50 p.m. on ESPN Radio 730 AM and WRHI 1340 AM and 94.3 FM. The “Voice of the Charlotte Knights” Matt Swierad will have the call for all of the action.