Mike Bynum has pitched everywhere from college ball to the Padres, but sometimes the first game in a new city can be nerve-racking.
At least he wasn't the only Mud Hens pitcher to feel the pain.
Bynum's four first-inning walks started off Charlotte's scoring, but didn't end it. He gave up four runs in his debut, but reliever Mark Woodyard didn't fare too much better, giving up four more as the Knights defeated the Mud Hens 8-2 last night at Fifth Third Field.
Charlotte needed just six hits to score its runs, benefiting from the walks and errors the Hens (9-5) donated to them.
Bynum, called up from Double-A Erie on Tuesday, started off the game with a walk and two strikeouts. He then gave up a single and three consecutive walks, sending two Knights home.
"All of a sudden he couldn't throw the ball over the plate," Hens manager Larry Parrish said. "We're in Triple-A; you're not supposed to do that. That's A-ball stuff."
In the second Bynum (0-1, 6.23 ERA) seemed to regain his composure by not allowing a baserunner. But in the third he gave up a home run to Jorge Toca - the first of two. Toca went 4-for-5, also hitting a single and a double, had four RBIs and scored four runs.
Bynum lasted until the fifth inning. He retired one batter but was pulled after shortstop Kevin Hooper's second error of the game.
Parrish ran out to help first baseman Chris Shelton argue that Shelton had tagged the runner despite Hooper's errant throw. Then on his way back Parrish headed over to the mound and took Bynum with him. Bynum was unavailable for comment after the game.
Woodyard relieved him, and the inning continued with another Toca hit and a walk issued to third baseman Jamie Burke. Catcher Raul Casanova doubled them both in.
Woodyard gave up four hits and four earned runs.
"Woody, when he's throwing right, is a good sinker ball guy. But he's just not staying within himself yet," Parrish said. "He's elevating the ball. All of the balls they hit hard were above the waist, up in the zone. He needs to pitch down in the zone, that's something we've got to get him to do."
Toca's second home run came in the seventh with Joe Borchard on base. Parrish said Toca looks better than when he was with the Hens last season.
"He definitely did some work in the offseason," Parrish said. "He's in a lot better shape right now than he was last year when he was here."
The Hens' only runs came in the fourth. With the bases loaded and no outs, Byron Gettis' single to left scored Mike Hessman and Alexis Gomez. The Hens outhit the Knights 7-6 but left five runners on base.
Charlotte (2-12) broke a 10-game losing streak. The Hens are 5-1 against the Knights.
Reliever Arnie Munoz (1-1, 4.76) earned the win for the Knights. Charlotte used five pitchers; the last two struck out five in the final three innings.
"We've got to move on, keep playing," Shelton said. "Tonight they pitched real well, unfortunately things didn't go our way."
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