Zach Miner seemed poised to suffer another bit of bad luck yesterday.
It was the ninth inning, and Charlotte was poised to pin a no-decision on the Mud Hens right-hander after loading the bases with none out and the Mud Hens clinging to a 6-5 lead.
Miner had pitched well, allowing just six hits and two runs in 72/3 innings.
The right-hander dominated the Knights early, getting a double play to escape a second-inning jam before retiring the following 12 hitters.
"I thought my fastball was good, and my change-up was good off the fastball," Miner said. "My breaking balls were pretty good. It was one of those days I just tried to keep them off-balance."
In his last start, with the parent Tigers in Boston, Miner allowed just one earned run in 51/3 innings but suffered a 2-1 loss. In his last start for the Mud Hens he received a no-decision despite limiting Pawtucket to three hits in seven shutout innings May 11.
And in the two appearances before that Miner had been saddled with a pair of losses despite allowing just seven hits and three earned runs in 12 innings.
"I've been trying to trust myself and go after guys," Miner said of his recent effective pitching. "I just want to use all my pitches and make pitches.
"If something is going that day, I go with it. Otherwise I try not to overthink it too much."
But there would be no tough luck yesterday as Jeremy Johnson came in and kept the tying run on third while getting the final three outs to preserve the 6-5 victory.
It was the first win of the season for Miner, who won 13 games between Toledo and Detroit last year.
"Miner has pitched really well his last four or five outings, and somehow, somewhere it has slipped away," Johnson said. "To come in and help him get a win was definitely in the back of my mind."
And obviously in Miner's mind, too. In the clubhouse Miner made sure to give Johnson a thank-you handshake and hug.
RUNNING WILD: The Mud Hens took advantage of Charlotte starter Charlie Haeger's knuckleball in the first inning, stealing four bases to score a run.
Ramon Santiago and Chris Shelton each stole two bases, with the pair combining for a double-steal that produced the run.
Santiago's steal of home marked the first time a Hen had turned that trick since Nook Logan stole home against Ottawa on May 26, 2004.
Santiago also stole a base in the second inning. His three steals is a record for a Mud Hen at Fifth Third Field.
THREE-DOT DATA: Chris Maples singled in four at-bats, making him 4-for-13 in this series and 6-for-18 (.333) against Charlotte this year. Maples, who has a five-game hitting streak, has batted just .167 (7-for-42) against the rest of the International League.
- John Wagner