PEORIA, IL- Blake McKnight pitched six shutout innings in front of 8,296 fans, the seventh-largest in Dozer Park history, to carry the Peoria Chiefs to a 6-0 win over the Burlington Bees on Friday night. The victory puts the Chiefs record at 10-5 in the second half and 47-37 overall.
The Chiefs scored a run in the second inning against Harrison Cooney, the Midwest League ERA leader. Juan Herrera singled off Cooney's leg and went to third on Steve Bean's single to right-center. Kenny Peoples-Walls followed with a check-swing grounder to first and he beat the double-play relay as Herrera scored for a 1-0 Chiefs lead.
Peoria tacked on two runs in the fourth. CJ McElroy Jr. led off with a drag-bunt single and scored on Justin Ringo's hit-and-run double in the right-center field gap. After the next two were retired, Bean blooped a double down the right field line to give the Chiefs a 3-0 lead.
The Chiefs got two unearned runs in the fifth as Richy Pedroza led off by reaching on a throwing error by Bees second baseman Kody Eaves. A wild pitch moved Pedroza to second with two outs and Ringo walked. Carson Kelly and Herrera each hit run-scoring singles and the Chiefs had a 5-0 lead.
The Chiefs got the final run in the eighth when Herrera and Bean singled. Peoples-Walls hit a ground ball to third to force Herrera and with two outs Pedroza singled up the middle to plate Bean and give the Chiefs a 6-0 advantage.
Chiefs starter Blake McKnight faced five Bees batters in an inning only once and allowed just five balls out of the infield. Two of those were base hits and the other three were lazy fly outs. McKnight has gone seven straight starts of at least five innings and two or fewer earned runs. He was the winning pitcher each of the last four times he's taken the mound.
McKnight (5-6) tossed six shutout innings allowing three hits with a walk and four strikeouts to earn the win. Kevin Herget pitched two hitless innings with a walk and five strikeouts. Jhonny Polanco pitched the ninth on two walks and a strikeout which ended the game.