Brandon Dixon connected on three home runs and paced a 12-hit attack as the Louisville Bats scored early and often in a 13-6 victory over the Rochester Red Wings, in International League play Sunday at Louisville Slugger Field.
With the loss, the Red Wings fell to 73-54 but maintained a three-game lead in the IL wild card race over Lehigh Valley (70-57) which fell on the road to Charlotte, 5-4.
Alex Blandino and Dixon hit back-to-back, one-out solo shots in a three-run first inning en route to a 5-0 lead after two innings.
Dixon homered and doubled in a seven-run fourth. Louisville sent 11 to the plate and took advantage of six free passes (four walks, two hit by pitch) to grab a 13-3 lead into fifth inning.
Stephen Gonsalves (1-1) took the loss. The left-hander allowed six runs (all earned) on eight hits and three walks. He struck out one and surrendered three home runs.
Niko Goodrum plated J.B. Shuck with his 13th home run of the season in a three-run third as Rochester pulled within two at 5-3. ByungHo Park connected on his 11 round tripper of 2017 – a two-run shot in the sixth inning.
Shuck finished 2-for-5 on the day with a pair of RBI. Anthony Recker was 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored.
Leonardo Reginatto retired all six batters he faced out of the bullpen.
Luke Bard fanned three over 2.1 scoreless frames.
The Wings return home for a crucial four-game series with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Monday. A 7:05 first pitch is slated. Rochester and the IL East’s first-place team will meet eight times in the Wings final 15 games.