TRENTON, NJ – Following Wednesday night’s loss to Altoona, Trenton Thunder first baseman Greg Bird had an on-the-spot observation, mentioning the team’s offense needed to pick it up.
The Trenton (43-36) offense recovered Thursday night, banging out 14 hits – with Bird hitting a two-run homer in a six-run fourth inning – on their way to an 11-3 victory over the Altoona Curve (43-36) at ARM & HAMMER Park. Bird is 9-for-22 over his last six games.
“I’m feeling good,” Bird said last week. “I have to do better and I will.” His latest streak pushed his average to .253 (45-for-178) with six homers and 26 RBIs.
The bottom four batters in the Thunder order (Tony Renda, Danny Oh, Cito Culver and Jose Rosario) combined to go 9-for-15 with eight runs scored and five RBIs.
LHP Caleb Smith set a season-high with seven strikeouts as he turned in his fourth quality start of the season with six innings of three-run ball. RHP Geoff DeGroot threw two shutout innings of relief in his Eastern League debut, allowing two hits and one walk, he struck out two.
Former two-time American League All-Star closer Andrew Bailey finished the victory on the mound with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
“Everything is feeling good,” said Bailey. “I’m just glad I’m back out there. Command and velocity are all good.”
With the win, the Thunder lead the Eastern League East by a full game over New Britain and Reading.
The Thunder look to take the series with the Curve Friday night. RHP Kyle Haynes (1-5, 3.00) will throw for the Thunder, LHP Zack Dodson (3-4, 3.63) starts for Altoona.
In addition, the Thunder will be one of 115 Minor League teams wearing special Stars and Stripes Caps and fans will be treated to a fireworks spectacular set to patriotic music Friday night. Tickets can be ordered online at Trentonthunder.com/tickets or by phone at 609-394-3300.