A two out, ninth inning grand slam off the bat of Cody Puckett capped a furious rally by the Louisville Bats Saturday night as they topped the Toledo Mud Hens 8-4. A crowd of 11,500 at Fifth Third Field saw the Bats pick up their ninth last at-bat win, the second via a grand slam.
The rally started with one out in the eighth when Didi Gregorius tripled to extend his hitting streak to eight games. The hit also knocked Toledo starter Adam Wilk out of the game.
In came Luis Marte who immediately gave up a single to Henry Rodriguez which scored Gregorius to make it 4-1. After Neftali Soto doubled, Mike Costanzo singled home Rodriguez for the Bats’ second run. After Puckett flew out for the second out, Felix Perez ripped a base hit to right, scoring Soto and making it 4-3. Toledo escaped the eighth with the lead after Corky Miller struck out.
They would not be so fortunate in the ninth.
After Phipps and Gregorius both singled with one out, Soto came through again with an RBI single to tie the game at four. Toledo decided to intentionally walk Mike Costanzo and bring up Puckett. Puckett launched the Bats’ sixth grand slam of the season to give them their first and only lead of the night.
The Bats’ comeback was a pleasant surprise for starter Sean Gallagher, who pitched eight innings giving up four runs on four hits while walking two and striking out six. The only blemishes on Gallagher’s record Saturday was a two-run homer to John Lindsey in the first and a two run double to former Bat Danny Dorn in the sixth. Gallagher was credited with his ninth win of the season, good for the team lead.
The Bats, who outhit the Mud Hens 15-4, saw eight of the nine players in the lineup record hits, including five multi-hit games. Perez, who was 3-for-4, has now hit safely in 31 of his last 42 games. In that time, he is hitting .342 with two home runs, twelve doubles, and 16 RBIs. He has raised his batting average from .227 to .289.
The Bats (42-67) moved into a third place tie with the Mud Hens in the International League West Division standings. The Bats have been in the cellar of the division since April 10.
The teams hook up for game two of their four game series Sunday night. Chad Reineke (3-7, 4.76 ERA) will start for the Bats opposed by Casey Crosby (6-3, 3.09 ERA) of the Hens. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.