Alonso has career night for Louisville

Former top pick has four hits, six RBIs in third Triple-A game

Yonder Alonso was Cincinnati's first-round pick in the 2008 Draft. (Michael O'Day/

By John Parker / Special to | May 15, 2010 7:40 PM

After going 1-for-8 in his first two Triple-A games, Yonder Alonso broke out on Saturday night.

The former first-round Draft pick went 4-for-5 with a double and a career-high six RBIs to lead the Louisville Bats to a 12-9 win at Rochester.

The Bats had lost nine of their previous 10 games on the road.

Selected seventh overall in the 2008 Draft out of the University of Miami, Alonso was hitting .267 with three homers and 13 RBIs in 31 games for Double-A Carolina before joining the Bats on Thursday.

He played exclusively as a first baseman or designated hitter in 2009, but with Joey Votto ensconced at first in Cincinnati, spent about half of his games with the Mudcats this season in left field. He hit .306 while playing first and just .222 as an outfielder.

"I was pretty surprised," the Cuban-born Alonso said of his promotion. "I only have enough clothes for four or five days and we just started an eight-game road trip."

Regarding his outfield play, Alonso said his comfort level was improving.

"I've been getting good coaching both here and in Double-A and getting good advice from the guys. Plus, it helps me stay in shape," added the 210-pound 23-year-old.

Hitting third and playing left field on Saturday night, Alonso batted four times with runners in scoring position and took full advantage. He drove in Zack Cozart with a one-out single in the first inning, clubbed a bases-clearing double in the fifth and drove in leadoff man Chris Burke with a single in the seventh. A two-out base hit to right scored Burke again in the eighth.

The four hits also were a career high for the lefty-hitting Alonso, with three of them coming off southpaws.

"I just got good pitches to hit with guys on base," he said.

Burke was 3-for-5 with two RBIs and three runs scored, while Cozart went 3-for-4 with a homer, four runs scored and two RBIs. The top three hitters in the Bats' lineup accounted for 10 of their 13 hits.

Neither club's pitchers had a pleasant night, with Louisville starter Justin Lehr (1-3) yielding five runs on nine hits over 5 1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out one. Rochester's Glen Perkins (0-5) surrendered seven runs -- four earned -- on seven hits over five frames. He has a 10.08 ERA through seven starts.

For Alonso, the game was a big step forward. And with any luck, his hot performance will inspire one of his teammates to lend him a sweatshirt.

"It's pretty cold here [in Rochester]," he said.

John Parker is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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