Jordan Leyland and Lansing want to finish the 2013 season in strong fashion. They took a big step in that direction Monday night.
Leyland went 3-for-5 with a grand slam and six RBIs and the Class A Lugnuts pounded out 17 hits en route to an 18-6 victory over the visiting Dayton Dragons. Lansing launched four homers in the win.
"It was really fun," the Blue Jays' 2012 ninth-round Draft pick said after the rout. "If I were to go to a game, I'd like to see a lot of home runs."
Leyland certainly delivered on that front, capping off his impressive performance with a seventh-inning slam.
"It was a 2-0 count and I was sitting on a fastball middle-up," the first baseman said. "I drove it the other way. I wasn't sure if it had a shot. I was just hoping to have a shot."
It did, clearing the right-center field fence for the Lugnuts' third grand slam this season while propelling the club to a single-game season high in runs scored.
Leyland hit .341 in 36 games with the short-season Vancouver Canadians before earning a late July promotion to Lansing. He is hitting .198 with the Lugnuts, and said he's been working with batting coach Kenny Graham to simplify his swing and improve his timing.
"Lately I've been struggling to get on time. Everything just kinda clicked," the UC Irvine product said. "Didn't really think about it that much."
Leyland's big night began in the fourth when Lansing scored seven runs to break open the game. After Chris Hawkins walked to open the frame, Leyland singled to put runners on the corners. The first baseman said that at-bat set the tone.
"It got me seeing the ball," he said. "It was a 1-0 count. A fastball away, I just went the other way with it."
Later in the fourth, Hawkins walked again to load the bases for Leyland, who swung at a first-pitch fastball and sent it through the middle for a two-RBI single.
And then Leyland got another shot with the sacks full, launching his first grand slam since Little League ball.
"That's really the last grand slam I can remember," he said.
The hit parade wasn't exclusive to Leyland. Six of the nine batters in Lansing's lineup had multi-hit nights. Blue Jays' No. 15 prospect Dalton Pompey led off the game with a solo home run and added another shot in the third. Emilio Guerrero went 3-for-6 with four RBIs and finished a triple shy of the cycle.
"Everyone stayed short for the ball tonight. Everyone just tried to play their own game," Leyland said. "We were on a five-game losing streak. We put up a good game."
Dayton recorded 10 hits in the losing effort. Third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean went 2-for-2 with a home run and two RBIs. Outfielder Beau Amaral and second baseman Brent Peterson each added a pair of hits.