Mauro Gomez is closing in on the Buffalo Bisons record for most home runs in a season.
Only he didn’t know that was the case.
When asked about it, his eyes got wide and you could sense his excitement.
“How much is it?” he asked.
The record is 34, set by Alex Ramirez in 1998.
“I didn’t know. The most I’ve hit is 28,” Gomez said. “But here, I’m going to try to hit 35. You never know. We’ll see. I’ve got a chance.”
Gomez inched one homer closer, hitting his 26th of the season to give the Buffalo Bisons a 2-1 win over the Toledo Mud Hens.
While Gomez leads the International League in home runs, Bisons fans have only seen seven of them.
Friday night, the 10,869 fans at Coca-Cola Field got to witness his power early, as Gomez drilled a two-run home run to left-center field in the first inning.
“I’m happy I got my 26th homer and try to hit more to help my team make the playoffs,” Gomez said, although there really isn’t an answer for the disparity in home versus road numbers.
“I feel good in the stadium here but I don’t know why I hit more on the road,” he said. “Every time I come here, I try to do the best I can. I do the same when we go on the road. If I hit more on the road, it’s good too.”
Meanwhile, Melky Cabrera made his Bisons debut, joining the Herd on a rehabilitation assignment from the Toronto Blue Jays.
The outfielder went 1 for 3. He flew out to left in the first and grounded out to second in the fifth. His hit came in the third, a crushing shot up the middle that hit the hat of Toledo pitcher Jon Link. He left the game after a 46-minute rain delay stopped play after the seventh inning.
“He moved around the outfield real good,” manager Marty Brown said. “He still looks a little bit hampered on the bases, you know. He didn’t look his normal self but I don’t think that’s to be expected right away. I’d like to be able to evaluate him after I’ve seen him for a few games rather than just one.”
Before the game, the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame inducted three members of the Class of 2013 – Ernie Young, Dave Roberts and Buffalo News sports reporter and columnist Mike Harrington. Roberts accepted his honor via video message as he is with the San Diego Padres as the club’s first base coach.
Because of strong storms, the Bisons had to cancel the scheduled fireworks show. Fans with tickets for Friday’s game can exchange them for the Herd’s game on Aug. 16. Also postponed was the Girl Scouts Camp Out. The outing will be rescheduled for Aug. 16.
The series continues tonight (7:05 p.m., Radio 1520 AM). Bisons left-hander Ricky Romero will miss his scheduled start due to illness. Claudio Vargas (2-2, 5.87 ERA) will take his place, facing Toledo lefty Jose Alvarez (6-4, 2.63).