Three Homers Lift Stripers to 7-3 Win Over Columbus

Enderson Franco pitches 5.2 solid innings behind strong offensive showcase

Peter Bourjos' solo homer in the third inning was one of three long balls in the game for Gwinnett, tying a season-high for the Stripers. (Bernie Connelly / Gwinnett Stripers)

By Dan Reiner / Gwinnett Stripers | May 26, 2018 9:52 PM

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA - Carlos Franco, Peter Bourjos and Danny Santana each blasted home runs to account for six runs in the Gwinnett Stripers' 7-3 triumph over the Columbus Clippers Saturday night at Coolray Field.

The Clippers got on the board first with a first-inning run against Gwinnett's Enderson Franco, making his first start at Triple-A this season. Brandon Barnes reached on an error and moved to second on an errant pickoff attempt by Franco. Mike Papi then dropped a double down the left-field line to give Columbus a 1-0 lead, though it would be short-lived.

Carlos Franco stepped up in the bottom of the first after an Austin Riley single and launched a 414-foot homer (9) to the grassy Bank area in right field off Clippers' starter Mitch Talbot (L, 0-1). The long ball kept him tied for second on the International League leaderboard, and also extended his league-lead in RBIs to 38.

Bourjos led off the third with a 391-foot solo shot (2) to left, extending the lead to 3-1. He came up again two innings later and sent a ball down the right field line for his IL-leading fifth triple. With two outs, Riley scorched a single to left to make it 4-1.

Talbot's night ended after 5.0 innings, as he allowed four runs on seven hits, walked none and struck out five.

Meanwhile, Enderson Franco (W, 1-0) cruised along against the Clippers, pitching to contact over 5.2 innings. He allowed a leadoff homer to Adam Rosales in the fifth, then walked Francisco Mejia two batters later to end his night. He allowed just four hits, two runs (1 earned) and three walks with one strikeout before turning the ball over to Miguel Socolovich.

Socolovich (H, 1) was lights out yet again, firing 2.1 perfect innings with three strikeouts. The outing extended his scoreless innings streak to 16.0 over his last eight outings.

The Stripers got some much-needed insurance in the seventh thanks to Santana. Xavier Avery led off with a single and stole second base, then Bourjos walked two batters later to put two on with one out. Santana ripped a 357-foot homer (6) into the Clippers bullpen off Cameron Hill to open the lead to 7-2.

Rex Brothers entered in the ninth, but loaded the bases with a single and two walks without recording an out. He was pulled in favor of Evan Phillips, who struck out John Berti but walked Yandy Diaz to make it 7-3. But Phillips (S, 3) induced Barnes into a double play, ending the ballgame.

Gwinnett's three homers tied for the team's most in a game this season, matching only Riley's three-homer day on May 13 vs. Norfolk. Bourjos finished 2-for-3 with a walk and three runs scored, while Santana and Riley also had two-hit games.

The Stripers (20-27) and Clippers (23-24) meet again Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. at Coolray Field. Left-hander Kolby Allard (3-1, 2.02 ERA) is scheduled to go for Gwinnett against Columbus righty Stephen Fife (3-4, 6.46 ERA). Tony Schiavone has the play-by-play call on 97.7 and 93.5 FM The Other Side of the River beginning at 12:35 p.m.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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