TOLEDO, Ohio -- The Charlotte Knights edged the Toledo Mud Hens, 3-2, Saturday in front of 10,300 fans at Fifth Third Field.
Toledo starting pitcher Jordan Tata went 6 2/3 innings and allowed one earned run on five hits with three strikeouts and Timo Perez hit his 10th home run of the season in the defeat.
Leftfielder Timo Perez crushed a two-run home run to right-center field to put the Hens up, 2-0, in the bottom of the first. It was the 10th home run for Perez, who leads the International League in hits, runs scored and doubles.
After the first inning, the game became a pitcher's duel, as the Mud Hens (53-41) and Knights starters settled in.
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Tata shutdown the Knights, allowing only three Charlotte batters to reach base and no runs through the first five innings to keep the Mud Hens in front, 2-0.
With the Hens still leading 2-0 in the top of the sixth, the Knights got a timely hit with two outs and two runners on to even the score.
Leftfielder Ryan Sweeney hit a two-RBI double into the gap in left-center to tie the game, 2-2.
The Knights (42-53) struck again in the top of the seventh with two outs.
Jason Bourgeois smacked an RBI-double to left field to score Kenny Kelly from second base on a close play-at-the-plate. Kelly just slid in under the tag by catcher Andrew Graham to give Charlotte a 3-2 lead.
Charlotte's starter, Health Phillips, added to the pitcher's duel after giving up the first-inning home run.
Phillips did not allow a hit or run and retired 16 of the 19 batters he faced after the first to hold the Hens scoreless through the next six innings.
The Mud Hens' relievers, Preston Larrison,Vic Darensbourg and Anastacio Martinez, held the Knights scoreless for the final 2 1/3 innings to keep Toledo in the game, but the Mud Hens could not rally in the bottom of the ninth to get the victory.
Phillips (7-7) earned the win for the Knights and Tata (3-2) took the loss for the Hens.
The Mud Hens take on Charlotte for the second and final game of the short two-game series today at 6:30 p.m.
Right-hander Ron Chiavacci (7-5, 3.59) is set to start for the Mud Hens, and right-hander Lance Broadway (5-5, 3.94) is the probable starter for the Knights.