(DURHAM, NC) -- Outfielders Luis Robert and Daniel Palka launched home runs to help power the International League Wild Card-leading Charlotte Knights past the Durham Bulls by a score of 9-3 on Tuesday in game two of their four-game series from Durham Bulls Athletic Park. With the win, the Knights increased their lead over the second place Bulls in the IL Wild Card standings to two games. The two teams have five head-to-head games left during the 2019 regular season.
The red-hot Knights jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning thanks to an RBI groundout by Chicago White Sox third baseman Yoán Moncada and a solo home run from Robert, his 13th of the season with the Knights. Overall in 2019, Robert has now recorded 29 home runs combined from Winston-Salem (eight), Birmingham (eight), and Charlotte (13).
Palka continued his solid offensive season and added his team-leading 26th home run in the top of the seventh inning, a three-run blast. With two more home runs on Tuesday, the Knights are tied for the International League lead in that category with 197 -- 94 more than they hit in all of 2018.
Charlotte second baseman Nick Madrigal and Moncada chipped in with three hits apiece on Tuesday to lead Charlotte to their fourth consecutive win. Since July 28 (22 games), the Knights own the best record in all of Triple-A Baseball with an impressive 17-5 mark.
LHP Justin Nicolino (8-6, 5.84) earned the win after he allowed just one run on five hits over six solid innings. The win was Nicolino's second in as many starts. RHP Juan Minaya recorded the final three outs of the game in the bottom of the ninth inning.
The Knights also now find themselves just 1.5 games back of first place Gwinnett in the IL South Division standings. The Stripers lost to the Norfolk Tides by a score of 5-1 on Tuesday.
Game three of the series will take place on Wednesday from Durham, NC. Pre-game radio coverage of Wednesday's 7:05 p.m. game is set for 6:50 p.m. on 730 The Game ESPN Charlotte and CharlotteKnights.com. The "Voice of the Charlotte Knights" Matt Swierad 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.