Three hours and 23 minutes to play a game that was 1-0 through four but ended 13-7? A six-run 10th featuring two errors and the ghost runner coming around to score and then, later, to hit into an inning-ending double play? A total newcomer to the organization going 3-for-5 with a double and a home run? This can only mean one thing: International League baseball is back in the Queen City, bitc- uh, friends.
Jimmy Lambert got the start for the third game of the young Knights season; although he reached the majors in both 2020 and 2021, this will be only his second season at the Triple-A level. He did almost immediately give up a dong to Yusniel Díaz (a centerpiece of the Orioles/Dodgers Machado trade in 2018), but in solidarity, so did Will Carter in the seventh inning. That was the only baserunner allowed by Lambert over three innings of work (31 pitches, 20 strikes, no walks, no strikeouts).
We're all tied up in Norfolk! Patrick Kivlehan just launched a solo homer! pic.twitter.com/qhQKy6QexT— Charlotte Knights (@KnightsBaseball) April 7, 2022
The 1-0 score held until the top of the fifth, when Patrick Kivlehan, a 32-year-old career minor leaguer signed by the Sox in February, tied it up with his first dinger of the year. The 1-1 score then held until the bottom of the fifth, when the life of a Kyle Kubat pitch was violently ended by Jahmai Jones, a three-run bomb that put the Tides up 4-1.
The 4-1 score from the bottom of the fifth held until the top of the sixth. Luis Alexander Basabe, newly back with the Sox and playing in Triple-A for the first time in his career, walked to start the frame, then Mark Payton (Orland Park native and recent minor league free agent signing) doubled him to third. He scored on a Ryder Jones groundout. No, none of these people were in the organization last year.
Then probable future major league backstop Carlos Pérez tied it up at four with his second home run of the three-day-old season, this one coming out of the DH slot. Pérez is known more for his defense than his tater mashing, with 13 overall between two levels last year, but I am delighted to announce that he is currently OPS’ing 1.468. Forget what I said about how many days old the season is.
Los is more!— Charlotte Knights (@KnightsBaseball) April 7, 2022
Carlos Pérez with his 2nd homer of the season! pic.twitter.com/ArmMRfSLOL
The 4-4 tie from the top of the sixth held all the way until the top of the seventh. That inning was highlighted by Pérez knocking in his sixth run of the season on a sac fly, then Dwight Smith Jr. singling in Zach Remillard and Ryder Jones to put the Knights up 7-4......
…which would hold until the bottom of the seventh. Anderson Severino entered and walked a guy but retired two batters with no damage. Will Carter then entered, gave up a single to put two on, and left after the inning with the game again tied 7-7, courtesy of Díaz homer #2.
That score really did hold for a while, at least relative to the rest of this game, the eighth and ninth innings passing fairly uneventfully (Pérez doubled). The ghost runner rule is alive and well in the minors, where it belongs, and Kivlehan was the inaugural specter this year. The Tides were unable to get anyone out on a fielder’s choice hit by Smith Jr., putting two on; Nick Ciuffo singled one in and Laz Rivera singled in the other. Two more runs would score on a Payton single combined with a center field error, and three more runs would score on three more singles, back-to-back-to-back by Remillard, Jones, and Adam Haseley. Kivlehan then showed up in a more corporeal fashion, ending things with a lineout DP.
Hunter Schryver, still looking to return to pre-Tommy-John form, pitched a scoreless bottom of the 10th to seal it for the Knights. Zach Muckenhirn also appeared and threw two scoreless innings.
Who was the Knights MVP?
This poll is closed
Mark Payton (RF): 2-for-4, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB
Zach Remillard (SS): 2-for-5, 2 R, RBI, HBP, GIDP
Carlos Pérez (DH): 2-for-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI, SF
Patrick Kivlehan (1B): 3-for-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB
Jimmy Lambert: 3 IP, H, R, 0 BB, 0 K
Who was the Knights Cold Cat?
This poll is closed
Luis Alexander Basabe (CF): 0-for-4, R, BB, 4 K
Kyle Kubat: 2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 K
Will Carter: ⅓ IP, 3 H, 2 R, K (BS)