Yankees reliever Tommy Kahnle made his first ever professional start in a two-inning rehab appearance as the Charleston RiverDogs were blanked in the opener of an eight-game road trip, 2-0, to the first-place Augusta GreenJackets on Monday night at SRP Park.
Kahnle (0-1), who made over 170 minor league appearances, all in relief, put on a RiverDogs uniform for the first time since 2011 when he spent the entirety of the season in the South Atlantic League. The Yankees fireballer allowed one run across two innings of work with a pair of K’s, yielding a two-out solo shot to GreenJackets (27-14) designated hitter Orlando Garcia in the second to open the scoring in a pitchers’ duel.
Originally scheduled to start the road trip opener, southpaw Dalton Lehnen was sharp in a bounce-back outing, yielding just an unearned tally in his first relief outing of the season. After being chased in the third in his last start in Hagerstown, the Minnesota lefty struck out seven Augusta batters over 5 2/3 with just a walk.
Augusta pounced on a leadoff error by Oswaldo Cabrera in the sixth to charge Lehnen with the unearned tally. Shortstop Manuel Geraldo roped a line drive single into center to double the lead.
The RiverDogs (19-24) offense managed just three hits in the loss, matching a season-low, as they were shutout for the fifth time this year. Charleston’s runs per game average sunk to a league-low 3.4.
Centerfielder Pablo Olivares made a sensational diving grab in the left-center gap in the fifth to rob Giants top prospect Heliot Ramos of at least a triple, at the time keeping the deficit at just 1-0.
The 2-0 loss marked the 30th game out of 43 decided by two or fewer runs for the RiverDogs, the most in the South Atlantic League and games in which Charleston is 12-18.
The RiverDogs continue their eight-game roady on Tuesday night against Augusta at 7:05 p.m. Charleston hands the ball to righty Janson Junk (0-1, 11.25) to make his second start of the season, opposed by southpaw Joey Marciano (3-1, 1.86) for the Jackets. Tuesday’s game will be broadcast on 1250 WTMA in the tri-county area. There will be online streaming audio also available worldwide on riverdogs.com, and through the RiverDogs TuneIn radio app.