(UPTOWN CHARLOTTE, NC) - The Charlotte Knights' winning streak was snapped at three games with a 5-4 loss to the Columbus Clippers on Friday afternoon in the opener of a four-game series at BB&T Ballpark.
The Clippers led from the start, as leadoff hitter Jake Bauers began the game with a home run to get the visitors off on the right foot. Later in the inning, Daniel Johnson doubled to scored a pair for a 3-0 Columbus lead off Charlotte starter Odrisamer Despaigne.
Leading off the bottom of the first, Knights second baseman Nick Madrigal laced a fly ball to deep center field. Columbus center fielder Andrew Velazquez tried to make the catch with a late dive, but the ball was beyond his reach and bounced off the base of the wall. As the Clippers got the ball back to the infield, Madrigal circled the bases for an inside-the-park home run, his first at the Triple-A level, to get the Knights on the board.
A sacrifice fly from Ramon Torres scored Yermin Mercedes to trim the Charlotte deficit to 3-2 in the second. Columbus regained the multi-run lead over the next two innings on RBI singles from Bauers and Yu-Cheng Chang.
That would be all Despaigne (L, 6-5) gave up. Over 6.0 innings, the veteran righty surrendered five earned runs on nine hits with two walks and a season-high nine strikeouts. In relief, Zach Thompson kept it close with 2.0 scoreless frames.
The Knights got closer in the bottom of the eighth as Zack Collins homered for the third straight day, this time with a two-run shot to right, his 16th of the season, to make it a one-run game again at 5-4.
Thyago Vieira pitched a scoreless top of the ninth to keep the deficit at one. But Columbus reliever Cam Hill retired the Knights in order in the bottom half to finish the win and earn the save.
Offensively, Collins led the way with two hits including the home run while Mercedes also went 2-for-4 in the loss. Making his first appearance with the Knights as part of a Major League Baseball rehab assignment, Yoan Moncada went 1-for-5 with a single.
With the loss, the Knights are now one game behind the Durham Bulls in the International League Wild Card standings.
The Knights and Clippers continue their series with a doubleheader starting at 5:05 p.m. on Saturday night. BB&T Ballpark gates will open at 4:30 p.m. Dylan Covey (0-1, 2.54) is expected to start the first game for Charlotte. Pregame coverage of the doubleheader is set for 4:50 p.m. on 730 The Game ESPN Charlotte. The "Voice of the Charlotte Knights" Matt Swierad and long-time Knights radio broadcaster Mike Pacheco will have the call for all of the action.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.