FORT MILL, S.C. – Tyler Kuhn entered the game in the sixth inning with the Knights trailing the Clippers. Things quickly changed.
Kuhn ripped two key doubles, drove-in two runs, and the Charlotte Knights beat Columbus 5-2 on Monday in the opening game of their four-game series from Knights Stadium.
After entering the game to replace Chicago White Sox outfielder Kosuke Fukudome, who was on a Major League rehab assignment, Kuhn ignited the offense in the sixth with a one-out double. Two batters later, Conor Jackson hit an RBI double and the Knights put their first run of the night on the scoreboard.
Next batter, Dallas McPherson singled in Jackson and the game was now knotted at 2-2 after six innings.
One inning later, the Knights got back on the scoreboard and this time took their first lead of the game. It was a lead they would never relinquish.
Drew Garcia led off the inning with a single and three batters later, it was Greg Golson’s turn to get in on the action. Golson – the International League leader in hits, doubled home Garcia for the go-ahead run. The Knights now led the Clippers 3-2 and were not done there.
In his second at-bat of the night, Kuhn doubled on an 0-1 pitch from reliever Dan Wheeler (0-1, 3.95) and gave the Knights a 5-2 lead. Kuhn’s second double of the game was a two-run shot. He finished the night 2-2 with a run scored, two doubles and two RBIs.
Charlotte (42-30) belted out 10 hits on the evening. Kuhn, McPherson and Garcia combined for six of the hits.
Reliever Deunte Heath (3-2, 1.89), who came on in the sixth inning in relief of starter Brian Bruney, allowed one run on one hit over three innings for his third win of the season. Bruney allowed just one run on four hits over five innings and did not factor in the decision. Reliever Brian Omogrosso shut the door in the ninth for his second save of the year.
Fukudome, who began a Major League rehab assignment with the Knights on Monday, went 1-2 with a single. He started the game in right field and batted second.
The two teams will continue their series from Knights Stadium on Tuesday. Gates open at 6:00 p.m. and first pitch is set for 7:15 p.m.