The countdown went three, two, one.
And yes, there was liftoff.
Zoilo Almonte homered three times over two days in one game to lead Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to a 12-4 win over Gwinnett at Coolray Field. The three blasts and seven RBIs both represented career highs for the 25-year-old outfielder, who finished the game 4-for-6.
Almonte, who has played 10 games in the Majors with the Yankees this season, went deep in each of his first two at-bats Wednesday night -- a solo homer in the first, a three-run shot in the third -- helping the RailRiders gain an 8-0 advantage over the Braves in the top of the third inning. Then, the rains came, and after an hour delay, it was decided that the game would be suspended and picked up in the third at 11 a.m. the following day.
That proved to be no deterrent for the Almonte power surge as he connected on the first pitch he saw Thursday, collecting another three-run homer to give him a career game.
The Dominican Republic native had last collected multiple homers in the same game back on April 17 this season. His previous RBI high was six, established Aug. 16, 2012, with Double-A Trenton.
Each of the three long balls came off right-handers with Wednesday's pair coming off Braves starter Kanekoa Texeira and Thursday's roundtripper off Carlos Fisher. That's no huge surprise given the switch-hitter's 2014 splits. Almonte owns a .317/.354/.576 line against Triple-A right-handers this season, compared to .194/.256/.292 against southpaws.
His overall numbers sit at .287/.330/.507 in 72 games with the RailRiders. Fifteen of his 16 homers have come off right-handers.
Almonte has played in seven games since returning to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre roster last week after a one-game stint with the Yankees, going 12-for-34 (.353) in that span. He is 4-for-25 (.160) with a solo homer in 10 Major League games this season.
Second baseman Robert Refnsyder also went deep and doubled in the suspended game, going 2-for-5 in the big win.
The RailRiders took the second game between the two sides Thursday with a 3-1 victory in seven innings. Switch pitcher Pat Venditte scattered five hits and struck out two in four innings as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre starter. Almonte did not play in the second game.