There's no mercy rule in the Minor Leagues, but after Andy Wilkins and Double-A Birmingham dropped 16 runs on Tennessee in the first five innings of Tuesday's game, Mother Nature took matters into her own hands.
The game was called after five innings with puddles flooding the infield, but not before Wilkins belted a pair of home runs, Dan Black hit a grand slam and Black and Tyler Saladino collected five RBIs apiece in a 16-0 trouncing.
For Wilkins, the breakout performance put his power numbers back on track after a slow start to the year. The 24-year-old packs legitimate power in his 6-foot-1, 220-pound frame, and hit 17 homers in 116 games playing from Birmingham's pitcher-friendly park in 2012.
Wilkins smacked his first homer April 24 and hadn't hit one since until Tuesday.
"I was a little more patient at the plate tonight," he said. "I think I've been too anxious. I was just trying to let the pitcher come to me as opposed to going after him."
The left-handed hitter's first homer came in the second inning -- a solo shot that snapped a scoreless tie. Matt Loosen started Wilkins with a fastball, which he took, then came back with a changeup. Wilkins belted the offspeed offering over the fence in right-center field.
Birmingham scored just one run in the second, but posted a six-spot in the third. Most of those runs came on Black's one-out grand slam. Wilkins followed with another solo blast in the next at-bat, yanking an inside fastball out to right field.
"That was definitely really cool," Wilkins said. "It's something we talk about a lot. It's kind of rare to have back-to-back home runs, and with Dan, it was great because it was a grand slam."
The Barons put up six more runs in the fourth, including an RBI double by No. 2 White Sox prospect Trayce Thompson and a two-run double from Saladino. The latter added a three-run homer in the fifth inning to extend the lead to 16 runs.
On the other side of the ball, hurler Spencer Arroyo worked all five innings for Birmingham, allowing four hits with two strikeouts. Arroyo had to battle intermittent rain and a rain-ravaged infield to record the shutout.
"There was standing water all over the infield," Wilkins said.
Despite raising his average from .239 to .276 entering Tuesday, Wilkins said he'd been battling through something of a slump to begin the season. The first baseman's power is his ticket out of Double-A, so registering just one homer in the season's first month wasn't the start Wilkins sought.
"I think, for me to go over a month and to just get to three homers, that's kind of rare," he said. "Today I made a conscious effort to be more selective.
"That, if anything, it slowed me down a little bit and helped me focus a little more as opposed to jumping out and swinging at whatever came my way. I think that was a big step for me."