COLUMBUS - In more ways than one, Alexis Gomez's home run to lead off the game last night was a sign of things to come for the Mud Hens in the opener of a two-game series in Cooper Stadium.
With a slight wind blowing out, it ended up being a big night for the long ball. Toledo (62-51) hit seven homers in the 15-8 victory, and Columbus smashed three.
Above all, however, it was a memorable evening for Gomez. After striking out in his second at-bat, he hit a line drive over the right-field fence in the fourth inning and added a long home run into the trees in right for his third homer.
Then in the ninth, he drilled a pitch by Clippers reliever Jesus Colome more than 400 feet over the center-field fence for his fourth homer.
Gomez is just the ninth player in International League history to hit four home runs in one game.
And the last player to hit four homers in a game before Gomez was another Mud Hen - Bubba Trammell, who slammed four home runs against Richmond in a 13-inning game at Skeldon Stadium on Aug. 9, 1997.
This also marked the second time Cooper Stadium had hosted a four-homer game, as Gene Locklear of Syracuse turned the trick against the Clippers on July 14, 1977.
The other IL players to hit four homers in a game are Curt Roberts of Columbus, who did so in a seven-inning contest in 1956; Bob Seeds of Newark in 1938; Baltimore's Buzz Arlett, who did so twice against Newark in 1932; George Kelly in 1919 and Billy Bottenus of Buffalo in 1895.
"It was a pretty exciting day, especially because we won," said Gomez, who hit one home run in 83 at-bats with the Tigers earlier this season and had three homers over his first 138 at-bats with the Mud Hens before last night. "I didn't even try to hit it out. This was the most exciting game of my career."
Hens starter Colby Lewis gave up six runs on eight hits over the first five innings but improved to 6-7.
Columbus tagged Lewis for five runs on five hits in the third, with Aaron Guiel and Ben Davis each hitting two-run homers.
Gomez led the way with five RBIs but was not alone offensively for the Mud Hens, who clubbed 18 hits on the way to winning for the third time in four games.
Josh Phelps made it 3-0 with a two-run homer in the first and Chris Shelton hit his first homer - a three-run shot in the fifth that made it 9-6 - in a Toledo uniform this season. Ryan Ludwick added a solo shot in the eighth.
The Hens finished with seven home runs in the game, which tied the team's modern-day record for most home runs in a game. Trammell's four-homer day against Richmond was the other seven-homer contest for Toledo.
Toledo scored nine earned runs off Columbus starter Tommy Phelps (6-4).
Every hitter in the Toledo lineup had at least one hit and scored at least one run.
Brian Boehringer tossed a scoreless sixth for the Mud Hens. Bobby Seay allowed two runs on one hit in two-thirds of an inning in the seventh, but Chris Spurling tossed 21/3 scoreless innings to finish off Columbus.
"It was some kind of night for Gomez," manager Larry Parrish said. "I don't know if I've ever seen four home runs before. You've got a short porch and there was a little bit of wind out there, and our pitcher and their pitcher weren't locating well.
"It was just a good night to hit."