By Josh Cook
After a one-game hiatus the Louisville Bats' recent power surge returned.
The Bats hit four home runs on their way to an 11-7 win over host Charlotte at Knights Stadium on Thursday night. That gave Louisville 13 homers in its four-game series at Charlotte and an International League-best 110 for the season.
The long ball helped the Bats (50-50) rally from an early 4-1 deficit as they returned to .500 for the season.
However it was Louisville, which has won four of its last five (it lost 2-1 to Charlotte on Wednesday), that scored first.
In the top of the second inning Bat Chris Dickerson walked with two outs. He advanced to second on Chris Valaika's single, took third when Drew Sutton reached on an error and scored on Chris Denove's single.
Charlotte (51-49) responded with four runs in the bottom of the inning against Louisville starter Chad Reineke, who came in among the IL leaders in earned run average.
But back-to-back homers by Yonder Alonso and Juan Francisco in the third brought the Bats back to within 4-3.
Louisville took the lead with three runs in the fifth. Zack Cozart singled, then Alonso walked. Then, after Francisco lined out and Todd Frazier struck out, Dickerson singled to score Cozart. Dickerson stole second, then scored on Valaika's two-run single that made it 6-4 and chased Charlotte starter Matt Zaleski.
Luis Rodriguez led off the bottom of the inning with a solo home run to make it 6-5.
The Bats added another run in the sixth. Gary Matthews Jr. walked with one out, advanced to second when Cozart walked and took third when Alonso walked. Matthews scored on Francisco's ground out.
The Knights tied the game at 7 in the bottom of the inning on back-to-back home runs by Stefan Gartell and Fernando Cortez. That was it for Reineke, who allowed seven earned runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out four over five innings as his ERA rose to 3.65.
Louisville scored the final four runs of the game.
Dickerson led off the seventh with a solo homer, his first in his rehab assignment with the Bats, off Knights reliever Freddy Dolsi (2-4) to give Louisville the lead for good.
Valaika followed with a double, then Sutton walked. Denove singled to load the bases before Matthews' single scored Valaika. Cozart then grounded out to score Sutton.
Wladimir Balentien's solo homer - his team-leading 16th of the season - in the eighth was the game's final run.
Jared Burton (2-2) picked up the victory with two innings of scoreless relief. He allowed one hit, while walking one and striking out three. Aroldis Chapman struck out two in the eighth, before recent-signee Russ Springer walked one and struck one out in the ninth.
Valaika led Louisville's 13-hit attack, going 3-for-5. Dickerson went 2-for-3 with three runs scored and two RBIs, while Denove also added two hits. Every Bats except Sutton had at least one hit.
The Bats, who have won 14 of their last 19, will try to get above .500 for the first time since they were 3-2 on April 12 when they travel to Gwinnett at 7:05 p.m. Friday night. Right-hander Sam LeCure (6-2, 2.55 ERA) is slated to start the four-game series for Louisville. He's scheduled to battle left-hander Jose Ortegano (2-7, 6.12).
Photo courtesy Louisville Bats