By Josh Cook
The Louisville Bats broke out of a two-game hitting slump in a big way Sunday.
They pounded out 10 hits, including three home runs, on their way to a 9-6 win over Gwinnett at Louisville Slugger Field.
Louisville had totaled five hits in its previous two games against the Braves, including being no-hit by Todd Redmond on Friday night.
Wladimir Balentien blasted two homers and Drew Sutton, fresh of hitting a pinch-hit grand slam with the parent Cincinnati Reds, hit one. In fact Balentien and Sutton hit back-to-back big flies in the fifth innings.
Gwinnett (22-27) scored twice in the top of the first against Bats starter Travis Wood (3-4). However Louisville (23-27) battled back with one in the second - on Balentien's first homer - then scored four times in the third inning to chase Braves starter Tim Gustafson (4-3).
Newcomer Chris Denove led off the third with a single before Wood followed with a double. Chris Burke then singled in Denove. Zack Cozart walked and Yonder Alonso flew out before Gustafson walked Balentien to bring in Wood. Jeff Lyman replaced Gustafson, but he promptly walked Sutton to score Burke. Chris Valaika followed with a ground out that scored Cozart.
Gwinnett responded with one in the fourth before Alonso singled with one out, then scored on Balentien's second homer - his seventh of the season. Sutton, went 2-for-2 with his grand slam Friday night in the Reds' 15-6 win over the Astros, followed with his third homer of the season.
Louisville added another run in the sixth on Cozart's RBI-single that scored Wood, who gave up just four hits and three earned runs while striking out three over six innings.
Gwinnett rallied for three runs in the ninth off of Enerio Del Rosario, who also recently returned from the Reds, before Jesus Delgado came on to get the final two outs of the game for his first save of the season.
The Bats now embark on a quick three-day road trip to Columbus. They open the series with a doubleheader at 4:05 p.m. Monday afternoon.
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