Knights' Johnson blasts two, plates six

Rays' Game 162 hero powers Charlotte to doubleheader split

(Mark Duncan/AP)

By John Parker / Special to | April 28, 2012 2:48 PM ET

It's unlikely that Dan Johnson will ever hit a homer as big as his blast for the Tampa Bay Rays last Sept. 28. That doesn't mean he'll stop trying.

The 32-year-old slugger went deep twice and drove in six runs on Saturday afternoon as the Charlotte Knights salvaged a doubleheader split with an 11-1 romp over Syracuse. The Chiefs won the opener, 5-3.

Johnson has been solid for the Knights, opening the season with hits in his first seven games while splitting time at first base and DH. However, he entered play on Saturday with just one longball in 20 games and one RBI in his last nine contests.

Johnson got the day off to a strong start in the first game of the twinbill, delivering a two-out RBI single in the opening inning, adding another hit and a run scored in the Knights' loss.

After striking out in the second inning of the nightcap, Johnson broke a scoreless tie in the fourth with a two-out, two-run blast. Charlotte tacked on two runs and loaded the bases for Johnson in the fifth. The University of Nebraska product sent the first pitch from reliever Rafael Martin over the right-field wall, extending the Knights' lead to 8-0.

It was Johnson's biggest run-producing game since May 22, 2010, when he went deep twice and collected eight RBIs in Durham's 18-1 rout of Pawtucket.

Jordan Danks also had a solid day, going 3-for-4 with a three-run shot in the victory. The younger brother of White Sox left-hander John Danks contributed a sacrifice fly in the first game.

Syracuse managed four hits off a the parade of relievers Charlotte sent to the mound in the nightcap. Leyson Septimo improved to 2-0 with two perfect innings.

Starter Tanner Roark (1-4) took the loss for the Chiefs, allowing eight runs -- three earned -- on seven hits over 4 2/3 innings. He struck out two and walked one.

John Parker is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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