There's a hot streak, and then there's whatever it is Andrew Ray is up to right now.
The left fielder lifted a solo homer with one out in the sixth inning as Class A Burlington fell to Cedar Rapids, 5-2.
What made that shot special was that it marked the fifth straight game he'd sent one beyond the fences.
The numbers from his last six games pop. He's 14-for-25 (.560) with three doubles, a triple and 11 RBIs. He's lifted his OPS from .668 just 10 days ago to .829 after Wednesday's game.
"I'm just getting pitches to hit and haven't been missing," he said with a bit of a laugh.
Ray traced his recent success back to a nine-day disabled list stint he made at the end of May. After an 0-for-5 performance on May 18, he was sitting with a .196/.239/.355 line in 30 games.
After that, he said, he spent the next couple weeks putting in extra work with Burlington hitting coach Nathan Haynes and Angels Minor League hitting coordinator Paul Sorrento, an 11-year big league veteran from 1989-'99.
"I just kind of dropped my hands to slow it down, cause I was so early on everything," he said. "I was hooking everything foul and dropping my hands gave me more time to lay off the off-speed stuff, get good counts to get good pitches and hit them out.
"I got put on the DL to change it. So my hitting coach and the hitting coordinator came in and worked with me to do that. It did wonders."
The post-DL results have been revealing. In 21 games, he's hit .365/.365/.765 with eight home runs, eight doubles and 22 RBIs, bringing his season line to .271/.293/.536 with 11 homers and 34 RBIs in 51 games.
"They were telling me I've got what it takes. 'Stay focused. Enjoy what you're doing. Get your pitches and you hit them.' Just the confidence that gives me allows me to let it loose a little bit. I'm not afraid to do something good, not afraid to mess it up," he said.
Ray added that, once in high school, he'd hit a home run in eight straight games. But this was the first time as a pro he's approached anything like this.
"Every time I hit one, my teammates, they're all just cracking up, like, 'Man, what's in the water you're drinking. What are you eating?' Stuff like that, it's things you can appreciate," he said. "I'm enjoying it. I realize it's gonna end sometime and when it does I just want to still use that confidence."
Seventh-ranked Twins prospect Jose Berrios (5-3) scattered a pair of runs on five hits without issuing a walk while striking out nine in seven frames to earn the win for the Kernels.
Minnesota's No. 8 prospect Max Kepler added a solo homer.