LOUISVILLE, KY - Brandon Dixon's three home runs and seven RBI helped the Louisville Bats (50-76) avoid a sweep at the hands of the Rochester Red Wings (73-54) with a 13-6 victory on Sunday afternoon at Louisville Slugger Field.
Dixon hit one in the first, second and fourth inning, becoming the first Bats player to record a three-home run game since Austin Kearns on July 5, 2005, against Indianapolis.
"As far as single days go, this is probably one of the best days I've ever had on a baseball field," Dixon said. "Something like this doesn't happen very often so it's pretty exciting when it does."
The seven RBI flirted with the franchise record set by Mark Dougherty, who had eight on June 21 of 1987.
"It's just one of those days where things work out. I was getting good pitches and taking good swings on them," Dixon said. "Our offense has been struggling the last week so it's always nice to support a pitcher and give him a chance for a win."
The Bats got their bats going early against the Twins' top pitching prospect in Stephen Gonsalves (1-1, 5.06). Alex Blandino and Brandon Dixon hit back-to-back solo home runs in the first inning, becoming the third pair of Louisville teammates to go back-to-back this season.
Scott Van Slyke tacked on one more run in the frame with an RBI single, giving the Bats a 3-0 lead. Prior to today's start, Gonsalves had allowed a combined two first-inning runs in 17 starts between Chattanooga and Rochester.
An inning later, Dixon launched yet another home run, joining Phillip Ervin and Juan Perez as the only Bats players with multi-homer games in 2017.
The Bats put up a seven-spot in the fourth inning, and it was Dixon who continued to inflict punishment on Red Wing pitching. The right-handed hitting slugger led off the inning with his third home run of the day and 15th of the year, one shy of his career high of 16 set in 2016.
Dixon received another at-bat that same inning with the Bats batting around and narrowly missed a would-be grand slam on a liner off the top of the wall in left. He instead settled for a bases-clearing double.
"I thought it was going to be close but I didn't think it was going to go out," Dixon said. "At that point with the bases loaded it's always good to get a few RBIs, so you can't really complain with an extra-base hit."
Gonsalves was chased out of the ballgame in the fourth, allowing a season-high six runs. The right-hander hadn't surrendered more than three runs in a start the entire year.
Dixon stepped in the batter's box one more time in the sixth and proceeded to ground into a fielder's choice, ending the day 4-for-5 at the plate.
The Bats will begin a seven-game road trip on Monday with a four-game set against the Indianapolis Indians. Right-hander Tyler Mahle (3-3, 2.58) will start for Louisville while right-hander Nick Kingham (7-6, 3.66) will toe the rubber for Indianapolis in game one at 7:05 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.