No special meal, no particular pair of socks, no pregame ritual. Michael Burgess busted out of a slump the old-fashioned way-- with hard work.
The Houston farmhand slugged two home runs and doubled to set a club single-game record of eight RBIs in Double-A Corpus Christi's 13-3 blowout of San Antonio. Burgess entered the game hitting .174 and had been on a 1-for-15 skid before he launched a third-inning home run.
"I worked hard. That's all I did. I didn't do anything different. I kept the same routine, which is just working hard, harder and harder all the time. You know, working in BP, the cage, whatever I have to do. It's a long season, so I was going to come out of it one way or the other," he said.
But to break the slump and a team record on the same night?
"You know, it feels good actually. I feel like I can go out there and be myself now," he said.
The previous Hooks single-game record for RBIs was six, set by Marc Krauss last Aug. 4, and Burgess was excited to add his name into the books. "It's an honor, man. It means a lot to me to have a record now."
Burgess struck out in his first trip to the plate, fanning in the second inning on all three pitches he saw from San Antonio's Donn Roach, the Padres' No. 15 prospect.
Burgess was eager his next time up too, and he sent Roach's first offering over the wall in left for an opposite-field three-run homer.
"I saw exactly what I was looking for," he said. "It was a fastball outside and being so excited, so amped up for it, I had to slow myself down."
He couldn't have timed the swing any better.
"I hit it pretty good," he said. "I knew it was gone."
Jonathan Meyer, who was 4-for-5 with a homer, led off the fifth with a single, and Erik Castro chased Roach from the game with a walk. Burgess welcomed Roach's replacement, Ryan Kelly, by pulling a 1-1 pitch over the fence in right.
"He tried to throw me a fastball in," Burgess said. "I just stayed behind the ball and used my hands."
The record-breaking RBIs came on a double the next inning, plating Meyer and Castro again. Burgess quickly fell behind in that at-bat, taking two called strikes.
"As soon as I got two strikes on me, I knew I had to slow down even more, make sure I saw the ball," he said. Three pitches later, he smacked a sharp fly ball to left. "It was a good knock."
Burgess' big night came three games after Astros' No. 13 prospect Domingo Santana became the first Hooks player to homer three times in a single game. The Hooks have scored 33 runs in a four-game span. In Monday's tilt, George Springer, Houston's No. 3 prospect, hit his second home run in as many games -- his Minor League-leading 13th roundtripper of the season.
"I love it. It's beautifiul. These guys are really swinging. If somebody's off, somebody else is going to pick it up, all the way down the lineup," Burgess said. "Springer? He's special, man. He knows how to play the game. He's got every tool there is. That guy is special, real special."
Roach fell to 2-4 for the Missions and his ERA swelled to 5.03 after giving up 10 runs on 10 hits and three walks in four-plus innings.