|© MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.|
Gomez homers twice, drives in eight08/31/2011 11:30 PM ET
By David Schoenholtz / Special to MLB.com
Mauro Gomez had to wait over a month to finish a career game, but it was well worth it.
Gomez hit two home runs and drove in eight as Triple-A Gwinnett crushed Norfolk, 11-2, on Wednesday in the completion of a game that was suspended July 25.
After flying out in the first inning, Gomez led off the fourth with a homer to left-center field. When play resumed, he singled in the sixth, cleared the bases with a three-RBI triple in the seventh and put the icing on his cake with an eighth-inning grand slam.
"I like hitting in this ballpark [Harbor Park] because I can hit the ball the other way," Gomez said through a translator. "Tonight, I was just lucky to find people on base."
Gomez set a new single-game RBI record for the G-Braves. His own previous career high was six RBIs, set April 22, 2009 for Class A Advanced Bakersfield and equaled on Sept. 5 that same year. His season high had been five, amassed April 17 against Durham.
The Dominican Republic native homered twice for the first time since July 2, 2010, when he did so for Double-A Mississippi against Birmingham. He drove in three runs in that contest.
Signed as a non-drafted free agent in March 2003, Gomez is hitting .438 -- 32-for-73 -- with five homers and 24 RBIs in 18 games against Norfolk this season.
"Every day I try to do the same thing -- the best I can," said Gomez.
He will celebrate his 27th birthday next week and was named the International League Player of the Week on Monday. The IL Midseason All-Star has hit safely in nine games in a row and has four homers and 16 RBIs in his last six.
"Three or four weeks ago, my hands were not working as well, so I put in some extra work in the cage," explained Gomez. "I've been swinging the bat well the last two weeks because of that work."
Gomez's three extra-base hits tie him with teammate Stefan Gartrell for second in the International League with 58. They trail Durham's Russ Canzler with 61. Gomez is fourth in the league with 85 RBIs and tied for fourth with 23 homers.
Gomez hopes to keep putting up big numbers and help his team's battle for the Wild Card, but his season-ending goal is one he shares with all lifetime Minor Leaguers: to finally make it to the Majors. If he continues to hit this well, Atlanta may grant his wish.
Matt Young reached base six times, going 3-for-3 and drawing three walks out of the leadoff spot. He scored on Gomez's triple and second home run.
Gomez went hitless in the nightcap, but did drive in the lone Gwinnett run with a sacrifice fly in the Braves' 2-1 loss.