After taking his hacks in the cage before Wednesday's game, Will Middlebrooks told his coaches he didn't think he was seeing the ball very well.
That would have been the last thing you would have imagined him saying had you watched him swing the bat later in the evening.
Middlebrooks went 4-for-5 with a pair of homers, a double and a career-high eight RBIs to power Triple-A Pawtucket to an 11-5 victory over visiting Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
"The past couple of games, I've been trying to be patient and -- what's the word? -- selectively aggressive. Just seeing and hitting it, no matter what the count is," Middlebrooks told the Pawtucket Times. "If they're going to give me a good pitch, it doesn't matter what the count is.
"I'm feeling normal and like myself again. Just some lingering things. It was nothing serious, but there was something tight."
The eight RBIs tied the franchise record and shattered his personal best of five, achieved four times and most recently on June 5. Freddy Garcia had the PawSox's most recent eight-RBI game on July 27, 2000 against Indianapolis.
It was Middlebrook's seventh career multi-homer game and fifth in the Minor Leagues.
After lining out in the first inning, the 24-year-old designated hitter ripped the first pitch he saw from RailRiders starter Caleb Cotham for an RBI double with one out in the third.
Batting cleanup, Middlebrooks ripped a three-run homer off Cotham in the fourth, also on the first pitch. An inning later, he greeted reliever Kelvin Perez with a blast to right-center field for his fifth career grand slam.
Selected in the fifth round of the 2007 Draft, Middlebrooks also singled to left leading off the eighth, leaving him a triple shy of the cycle.
"For me, I like to see him in the batter's box hitting the ball hard," Pawtucket manager Gary DiSarcina told the newspaper. "An absolutely incredible night.
"He's letting the ball travel [through the zone more] before driving it. I'd bet he'd tell you that he thought the grand slam was a double, but he's so strong that it just elevated."
Middlebrooks broke camp with Boston this spring and played 46 games before landing on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain on May 23. He returned to Fenway Park on June 10 after five rehab appearances with Pawtucket, but he went 4-for-29 and was hitting .192 when the Red Sox returned him to the Minors. After hitting .288 with 15 homers and 54 RBIs in 75 big league games last year, he had nine homers and 25 RBIs in 53 games this season.
A night after recording his own two-homer game, Red Sox No. 2 prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. went yard again, doubled, walked and scored three runs. Alex Hassan contributed two hits, two RBIs and a pair of runs scored.
Alfredo Aceves (4-2) recorded the win, despite allowing five runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out two over five innings.
Fernando Martinez was 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Cotham (2-5) was charged with nine runs -- six earned -- on 10 hits and four walks over 4 2/3 innings.