(UPTOWN CHARLOTTE, NC) – In their final game before the All-Star break, the Charlotte Knights came from behind to beat the Norfolk Tides 7-5 to earn a series win on Sunday afternoon in the finale of their four-game series at BB&T Ballpark.
Down 5-3 in the bottom of the seventh, the Knights loaded the bases with singles from Ryan Goins and Adam Engel before a walk to Matt Skole. From there, the Tides went to the bullpen, bringing in lefty Tanner Scott. On just Scott’s second pitch, Knights designated hitter Yermín Mercedes launched a towering 432-foot blast toward the scoreboard in left field for a go-ahead grand slam to propel the Knights in front 7-5.
Pitching with a lead, Thyago Vieira (W, 5-2) quickly retired the Tides in order in the eighth to keep Charlotte in front. In the ninth, Jimmy Cordero (S, 4) worked around a two-out single finish the win and earn the save.
The Knights jumped ahead in their first turn at the plate as Engel came home to score on an error. Norfolk responded with a run in both the second and third inning to take a lead, but the Knights got it back on Goins’ two-run single in the bottom of the fourth.
Making the start as part of his MLB rehab assignment, Dylan Covey gave up two runs, one earned, on four hits over 4.0 innings with one walk and three strikeouts. Jordan Guerrero entered in the fifth and gave up three runs over 1.2 innings as Charlotte fell behind 5-3.
Vieira threw 2.1 scoreless innings from the bullpen with two strikeouts to earn the win behind Mercedes’ slam.
Offensively, Mercedes led the way with the grand slam and five RBI. The slam gives Mercedes five home runs and 19 RBI over just 14 games with the Knights, topping his total of 18 RBI over 42 games for Double-A Birmingham.
The win gives the Knights 10 wins in their last 11 home games and improves their International League-leading home record to 32-14. Charlotte enters the All-Star break with a 49-40 record.
On Wednesday, Goins and Knights relief pitcher Connor Walsh will represent the International League at the 2019 Triple-A All-Star Game to be played at Southwest University Park in El Paso, Texas. The annual mid-summer classic between the International League and Pacific Coast League will be televised live nationally on MLB Network beginning at 9 p.m. EST.
The Knights are back home on Thursday night to begin a four-game series against the Gwinnett Stripers. Pregame coverage of the 7:04 p.m. game is set for 6:50 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.