Knecht's slam lifts Leafs past Panthers

Photo by Craig Aikin

TORONTO -- Marcus Knecht's grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the sixth was the turning point in the Toronto Maple Leafs' 8-6 win over the visiting Kitchener Panthers Wednesday night at Christie Pits. 

With one run already across in the inning and the game tied 2-2, Knecht fell behind 0-2 against Panthers pitcher David Bruinsma, who was facing his first batter after taking over from Jacob Douglas. Knecht homered three pitches later to put Toronto ahead for good. 

Justin Marra went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs, Jordan Castaldo went deep with the bases empty, while Grant Tamane also drove in a run and scored. Chandler McLaren had an RBI, Damon Topolie singled three times and scored twice, and Ryan Johnston went 2-for-3 with a run. 

Kyle Perrett (2-0) earned his second victory on the mound, throwing two scoreless, hitless innings of relief. He walked two and struck out three. Starter Marek Deska went five innings, giving up two runs on two hits with a walk and six strikeouts. 

Third-place Toronto improved to 6-5. 

For second-place Kitchener (6-3), Liam Wilson had two hits, including his fourth home run of the season. He drove in two and scored twice. Ryley Davenport hit a three-run blast in the ninth as Kitchener mounted a comeback, while Stephen Whalen added an RBI. 

Douglas (1-1) took the loss. He was charged with four runs on two hits with three walks and two strikeouts in 1.2 innings. Liam Devine scattered five hits in four innings, allowing a run with two walks and four strikeouts.