It wasn't easy and it was often hard to watch, but the International League semifinals are over and Charlotte is still charging.
Helped by 8 1/3 strong innings from veteran starter Matt Zaleski, the Knights survived Game 4 of their best-of-5 series against the Indianapolis Indians with a 6-4 home victory.
Despite being shut out 8-0 in Game 3 on Friday -- and nearly squandering a five-run lead in this one --
Charlotte will meet the Pawtucket Red Sox in the best-of-5 Governors' Cup Championship Series beginning Tuesday.
Zaleski (1-0) is a big reason why. The 30-year-old right-hander, who's spent parts of the last four seasons with the White Sox's Triple-A affiliate, allowed one run on three hits through eight innings.
Zaleski and the Knights bullpen struggled in the ninth, giving up three runs on five hits before Santos Rodriguez recorded the final out to pick up his first postseason save.
Zaleski struck out four, recorded 13 outs on the ground and threw 82 of 125 pitches for strikes.
Indians counterpart Kris Johnson (0-1), who has both started and relieved this season, gave up three runs on two hits and two walks and didn't come out for the second inning.
After Johnson issued back-to-back one-out walks in the first, Seth Loman delivered an RBI double, Josh Phegley singled in a run and an error by shortstop Chase d'Arnaud produced another run.
Greg Golson padded the lead with a two-run homer in the second off reliever Bryan Morris.
In other International League action:
Pawtucket 7, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 1
One night after falling one out short of a sweep, the Red Sox won their best-of-5 series against the Yankees, 3-1, to clinch a spot in the IL Finals.
Nelson Figueroa, who was signed by Boston five days after he was released by the Yankees on July 19, pitched eight strong innings against his former club. The veteran right-hander struck out eight and gave up one run on two hits, including Corban Joseph's fourth-inning solo homer.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's Vidal Nuno struggled in his Triple-A debut, surrendering seven runs on seven hits in 1 2/3 frames. Danny Valencia chased him with a three-run homer that capped the PawSox's seven-run second. Gameday box score