Midway through the season, Dalton Hicks has a pretty good idea how Midwest League pitchers are going to attack him.
That knowledge served him well Sunday as the Twins prospect drove in a career-high six runs and finished a triple shy of the cycle in Class A Cedar Rapids' 10-9 loss to Peoria.
Hicks went 3-for-4 with a walk as the Kernels finished the first half of the season in second place in the Midwest League Western Division.
The 23-year-old first baseman has become accustomed to how most teams will pitch him. The left-handed hitter anticipated Peoria would start him away, and in the first inning, he drove an outside offering up the middle for an RBI single.
"My first at-bat, I hit a ball when they started me away, like most teams will do," he said. "They'll start you with that and then as the game went on, they moved in."
Hicks walked in the third and grounded out to first base in the fifth. Anticipating the move inside in his fourth at-bat, Hicks connected with an inside fastball and drove it over the right-field wall for a three-run jack in the sixth.
"They started me away with a curveball," he said. "Then they tried to sink one inside on me and I got the barrel out there and squared it up pretty good."
After causing damage against inside and outside offerings, Hicks anticipated an off-speed pitch in his eighth-inning at-bat. Joe Donofrio offered up a hittable changeup that Hicks drove to left field for a two-run double.
"That's always the toughest part is that they'll make changes," Hicks said. "I have to make changes and make adjustments as well to what I need to do. That's baseball, and today I made some good adjustments."
Hicks twice drove in five runs in his professional debut last summer with Rookie-level Elizabeth. The 2012 17th-round Draft pick finished the first half of this season hitting .291 with 11 homers, a Minor League-leading 63 RBIs and an .862 OPS.
Peoria spoiled Cedar Rapids' bid for a first-half division title with a dramatic ninth-inning comeback. Backed by Jeremy Schaffer's tying grand slam, the Chiefs scored five runs to take the lead. A couple of batters after Schaffer's tying blast, Cardinals No. 16 prospect Patrick Wisdom put Peoria ahead with an RBI single.
Twins No. 17 prospect Niko Goodrum collected three hits, including a double, scored three runs and drove in a run, while No. 2 prospect Byron Buxton and No. 18 prospect Jorge Polanco each had two hits, an RBI and a run scored.
Wisdom also doubled for Peoria, which got two hits and two RBIs from Ildemaro Vargas.