LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Louisville Bats may never want the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees to leave Louisville Slugger Field. The Bats defeated the Yankees 11-6 Thursday, completing their first sweep of a team this season and tying a season-high for runs scored.
It is the first time the Bats had swept the Yankees in franchise history and their first four-game sweep since taking all from Syracuse on May 30 through June 2 last season. Louisville (26-49) outscored Scranton/Wilkes Barre (40-34) 29-13 over the four games, winning the season series between the clubs 6-2.
The Bats matched a season-high by scoring six runs in the second inning, which saw 12 Louisville players come to the plate. Bill Rhinehart got things going with a two-run homer and Kristopher Negron added a two-run double to pace the offense. Joey Gathright crossed on a groundout by Mike Costanzo and Dioner Navarro knocked in Negron to round out the scoring. Louisville had previously put six across in one inning on April 18 against Toledo and April 28 against Norfolk.
D.J. Mitchell was the victim of the six-run second, dropping to 5-4. In his shortest outing of the season, Mitchell was saddled with all six runs on seven hits with three walks and two strikeouts in two innings.
Janish seemed to be in the middle of every major Louisville offensive output, scoring on the homer by Rhinehart, then homering himself to lead off the fifth. Janish finished 2-for-2 with three walks, three runs scored and two RBI. Cody Puckett led all Bats hitters with three hits.
Russo went 3-for-4 with three RBI for the Yankees, while Francisco Cervelli finished 2-for-5 with a pair of runs scored.
Bats starter Tim Gustafson pitched the minimum for the win, allowing three runs - one earned - on five hits with two strikeouts and four walks. Gustafson has now won his last three starts, improving his record to 3-1.
Louisville had to come from behind to win the previous three, and this one followed the same script. Gustafson loaded the bases in the first thanks to a pair of walks and a fielding error by Puckett, then allowed a two-out single to Russo that brought in Corban Joseph and Cervelli for an early 2-0 Yankee lead.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre got an RBI single by Russell Branyan that scored Jack Cust in the fifth, cutting the Louisville lead to 6-3.
After Janish's homer in the fifth, and with Jones and Puckett on first and third respectively and Gathright at the plate, Jones took off for second but got caught in a pickle. Puckett went for home, but got caught in a pickle of his own, allowing Jones to take second. Jones then ran for third, and Puckett was able to beat the pickle and slide into the plate, giving the Bats an 8-3 lead after five. Jones and Puckett were each credited with a stolen base on the play.
Janish again did damage in the sixth with a two-run double that crossed Costanzo and Navarro, and scored himself on a single by Cody Puckett, adding to a 11-3 Bats lead.
Louisville relievers had dominated the Yankees, a trend that looked to continue heading into the ninth. Carlos Fisher surrendered the first bullpen run all series, an RBI double to Joseph that brought in Chris Dickerson. Joseph scored on a single from Cervelli and Russo knocked in Cervelli for the final run of the game with a single.
The Bats will start a four-game series with the Pawtucket Red Sox at 7:05 p.m. Friday as part of an eight-game road trip. Pedro Villarreal (2-4, 3.86) is scheduled to take the mound for Louisville, going up against Brandon Duckwork (7-1, 3.69).