Thunder pound record seven homers

Lyerly, Johnson go deep twice each in Trenton's first victory

By John Parker / Special to | April 7, 2012 2:54 PM ET

A stiff wind was blowing out to center field at Trenton's Waterfront Park on Saturday afternoon, but it only seemed to help the home team.

After mustering four runs in dropping their first two games of the season, the Thunder struck for a franchise-record seven homers in an 11-2 victory over the visiting New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

Trenton had hit six homers in a game three times, most recently on May 9, 1999.

Designated hitter Cody Johnson and first baseman Robert Lyerly led the way with two longballs apiece. Outfielders Zoilo Almonte and Melky Mesa and catcher Jose Gil each added one. All but one of the blasts -- Lyerly's second -- were solo shots.

Trenton pounded out 16 hits, including 10 for extra bases, while New Hampshire was limited to four singles.

"When a pitcher makes mistakes, you have to make guys pay and we were able to do that today," Johnson told the Times of Trenton. "Some days they make those mistakes and get away with them; today just wasn't one of those days."

New Hampshire starter Deck McGuire (0-1), the Blue Jays' No. 10 prospect, bore the brunt of the onslaught, surrendering eight runs on 11 hits -- five of them homers -- over five innings. The former first-round Draft pick, who gave up 13 round-trippers in 125 1/3 innings last season, struck out six and walked a pair.

Trenton got things going early as second baseman Jose Pirela tripled to open the bottom of the first inning and scored on Almonte's single.

Johnson led off the second with the first homer of the day before the Thunder bats truly came alive in the third. Almonte, Lyerly and Mesa opened the frame with consecutive blasts to extend Trenton's lead to 6-2. It was the club's first three-homer inning since baseman Robinson Cano helped the Thunder do it on April 17, 2004.

"We were kind of looking for something like that after the first two days," Thunder manager Tony Franklin told the newspaper. "It just kind of happened, but I think we certainly have guys in our lineup that are capable of hitting home runs. Some of these guys have power. It's just how consistent we're going to be with it."

Gil went deep in the fifth and Lyerly and Johnson added their second homers of the game off reliever Ryan Tepera in the seventh.

"Yeah, it was a good day to hit," Lyerly said. "In Spring Training, we scored a lot of runs and had a good offense. This is pretty ridiculous what happened out there, but we'll see what happens going forward."

Trenton starter Brett Marshall (1-0) was solid in his Double-A debut, giving up two runs on two hits and three walks in five innings. The 22-year-old right-hander retired seven of the final eight batters he faced, despite getting only two ground-ball outs -- against 10 flyouts -- with a 21 mph breeze blowing out to center.

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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