Alexis Gomez gave himself an early birthday present on Monday, slamming four of the Mud Hens' seven homers in Toledo's 15-8 victory over Columbus.
A day before his 28th birthday, the left-handed center fielder opened the first inning with a shot over the right-field wall. He cranked a two-run blast in the fourth to knot the score, 6-6, and a leadoff homer in the sixth before making history with a solo roundtripper in the ninth.
"It was the greatest night of my career," Gomez said.
He was hoping last year's history would not repeat itself, as he went a combined 1-for-10 in a doubleheader that lasted 24 innings Aug. 6. After going 0-for-5 in 14 innings Saturday, the Dominican Republic native said he thought, "I got to do something for my birthday."
Gomez said he was not specifically trying to hit the ball out of the park, but that Cooper Stadium allows players to see the ball well. Gomez, who hit three of them to right field, added that the stadium is conducive to lefties.
Gomez said his teammates jokingly kept asking him what he ate, although he said he did not change anything before the game. He had slugged just three long balls all year before Monday's contest.
Bubba Trammell was the last Mud Hen and International League player to have four homers in a game. He accomplished the feat on Aug. 9, 1997, in an extra-inning game in which the Mud Hens also registered seven homers. The last four-homer game in the Minor Leagues occurred May 13 by the Mexican League's Jorge Vazquez of Angelopolis.
Gomez is the third player with four blasts in Columbus history. Curt Roberts of the then-Columbus Jets and Gene Locklear of Syracuse did the same to enter the record books in 1956 and 1977 respectively.
Josh Phelps, Chris Shelton and Ryan Ludwick also homered for Toledo (61-55). Phelps hammered a two-run shot in the first, and Shelton drove in four runs, including a three-run blast in the fifth. Ludwick's solo homer in the eighth was his fifth in 10 games for the Mud Hens, who lead the league with 121 blasts.
Max St-Pierre and Ramon Santiago plated a combined three with doubles in the seventh for Toledo. Every member of the starting lineup had at least one hit and one run scored in the 18-hit attack.
Bronson Sardinha homered and Aaron Guiel and Ben Davis slugged a two-run roundtripper apiece for the Clippers (53-62). Guiel had three RBIs and Carlos Pena picked up one.
Starter Colby Lewis (6-7) yielded six runs on eight hits while striking out one and walking four in the win.
Starter Tommy Phelps (6-4) took the loss after surrendering nine runs on 10 hits with three strikeouts and three walks over four frames. Veteran relievers Colter Bean and Jesus Colome also gave up a homer each to Gomez, while former Major Leaguer Ramiro Mendoza allowed four runs over two innings of relief.
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Shelton went 3 for 5 in the game with a HR and 4 RBI. Nice to see him having a good game but he is still only hitting .231 in 6 games with the Hens.