NEW BRITAIN, CT -- The New Britain Rock Cats powered their way past the Akron Aeros Thursday afternoon, riding four home runs to a 9-5 victory at Willow Brook Park. The loss finished a New Britain sweep and is Akron's fourth in a row.
After scoring a quick run in the first inning, Aeros starter Brett Brach held the Rock Cats scoreless until the fourth inning. In that inning, however, the wheels started to come off for the right-hander. Following a single and a walk, first baseman Reynaldo Rodriguez send the first pitch he saw out to right-center field for his first home run of the day.
Rodriguez homered again on the first pitch he saw in the sixth inning, sending this one out to left field. The first baseman now has 14 home runs this year.
Rodriguez's home runs heavily marred Brach's line, as the right-hander made it through six innings but gave up six runs on six hits, one walk, two hit by pitches, and one strikeout. Brach (6-8, 5.29 ERA, 4.61 FIP) has allowed 12 home runs in 95.1 innings this season and 13 runs in his last two starts.
The Aeros (53-58) got some pop of their own in the top half of the fourth before the Rock Cats' (52-59) offensive explosion began. First baseman Jesus Aguilar took New Britain starter DJ Baxendale out to left field, tying the game at 1-1 at that point.
Akron later got to Baxendale (4-4, 5.80 ERA, 4.67 FIP) in the seventh inning, as the Aeros scored four runs to cut the New Britain lead to 6-5. The inning was highlighted by a bases-loaded triple from catcher Alex Monsalve, who is only in his sixth game back from an elbow injury that cost him the first half of the season.
The Aeros' comeback plans were dashed, however, when New Britain got to Akron reliever Rob Bryson in the eighth inning. Left fielder Daniel Ortiz and right fielder Evan Bigley joined Rodriguez in a homer binge, going back-to-back following a leadoff walk. Those three runs in Bryson's only inning pushed the Rock Cats' lead from one to four and proved to be too large of a deficit for the Aeros to overcome in the ninth.
The only Aeros pitcher who came away unscathed Thursday was right-hander Josh Johnson, who struck out two in his three-up, three-down inning.
The Aeros will look to get back on track Friday night as they start a three-game series in Altoona. Akron will send right-hander Will Roberts (7-7, 4.24 ERA, 3.95 FIP) to face off against right-hander Casey Sadler (8-5, 3.39 ERA, 4.30 FIP). First pitch is at 7:00 p.m.
Attendance: 6,616... Time of Game: 2:30... Game time temperature: 78 degrees... Jose Ramirez played his second game since returning from the disabled list on Tuesday, once again at designated hitter. Ramirez went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a strikeout, extending his hitting streak to 12 games... Right fielder Carlos Moncrief went 2-for-4 with a double, giving him 118 hits on the season. Moncrief came into Thursday third in the Eastern League in hits.