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Hanson makes first homer a winner
Pirates prospect rediscovers power stroke at perfect time
05/15/2013 12:24 AM ET
Alen Hanson has raised his average 37 points in his last seven games to .264.
Alen Hanson has raised his average 37 points in his last seven games to .264. (Cliff Welch/MiLB.com)

A year after breaking out with 62 extra-base hits in the South Atlantic League, Alen Hanson struggled to rediscover any semblance of the power that helped make him the No. 3 prospect in the Pirates system.

After a rocky first month in the Florida State League, the shortstop has begun to rediscover the pop buried in his 5-foot-11, 152-pound frame. On Tuesday, he picked a good time for his first FSL homer, snapping a ninth-inning tie with a solo shot that gave Class A Advanced Bradenton an 8-7 triumph over Clearwater.

MLB.com's No. 54 overall prospect entered Tuesday with a .257 average and only seven extra-base hits in 34 games. The diminutive Dominican dominated at West Virginia a year ago with a .309 average, 16 homers and a .909 OPS. This year, he's continued to put the ball in play, striking out 30 times, a similar rate to his 105 strikeouts in 124 games last year. What was lacking was the pop.

He's begun to discover it of late. In addition to his homer Tuesday, Hanson doubled, walked and scored three runs. He's hit safely in seven straight games, with four multi-hit efforts during the modest streak.

Hanson helped Bradenton erase a 7-1 deficit after three innings. Marauders sstarter and Pirates No. 13 prospect Nick Kingham failed to work out of the first, retiring two batters and allowing four runs on three hits and two walks.

Cesar Lopez and Jhondaniel Medina navigated the Marauders through the fourth and Zac Fuesser (2-1) picked up the win after giving up two hits and striking out five over four scoreless frames.

Hanson helped spark the comeback, which began with a five-run fourth. He doubled two outs and scored a batter later on Benji Gonzalez's base hit to get Bradenton within 7-6.

In the seventh, the 20-year-old shortstop drew a leadoff walk, raced to third on an errant pickoff attempt by reliever Ryan O'Sullivan and, after Gonzalez reached on a bunt single, scored on a double play by Dan Grovatt.

Hanson led off the top of the ninth with a blast over the right-field fence off Luis Garcia to cap the comeback.

Gonzalez finished the game 4-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored. Osuna added two hits and Carlos Mesa had two RBIs on one hit.

For Clearwater, Kelly Dugan went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer and two runs scored. Cameron Perkins chipped in two hits.

Jake Seiner is a contributor to MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Jake_Seiner. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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