California League pitchers have been testing Addison Russell's patience this month, but shaking him out of his approach has been like trying to ruffle a penguin's feathers.
The A's top prospect drew four walks Wednesday night, mixed in a career-high three steals and scored twice as Class A Advanced Stockton edged Bakersfield, 4-3.
The four walks tied the career high Russell established on Aug. 8, also against Bakersfield. He's drawn 21 free passes in 24 games this month after collecting 24 in 66 games from May through June.
"I was just looking for my pitch and I didn't see my pitch tonight," he said. "I wanted to stay within my approach tonight, and it just worked out that way."
Ranked 19th among MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects, Russell said maintaining that approach is slightly more difficult on nights like Wednesday -- hitters like to hit. While he sees the value in his performance, he admitted it's a battle to go four at-bats without putting a ball in play.
"I'm somewhat pleased," he said. "I got on base a lot, stole three bags tonight. I did a lot of things to help my team tonight, so that's not a bad night. I guess you could say I get a little anxious, though. At this level, you have to keep yourself composed and stay within your approach."
The 11th overall pick in last year's Draft is 21-for-24 on the bases as he wraps up his first full Minor League season. After going 0-for-1 in July, he's 9-for-9 this month.
"I'm just getting more confident," he said earlier this month. "The speed's there, the ability's there. It's just a matter of being confident."
Russell drew his first walk in the first inning against Blaze starter Fabian Williamson. He stole second, took third on Bobby Crocker's single and scored on Tony Thompson's sacrifice fly.
In the second, Stockton put a pair of runs on the board before Russell drew another walk, this time with Myrio Richard already at first. Richard and Russell executed a double-steal but were stranded in scoring position.
The 19-year-old shortstop batted with two outs and nobody on in the fourth and worked his third walk. This time, Williamson tried to pick him off but threw wildly, allowing Russell to stroll into second.
In the sixth, Richard reached on an error in front of Russell but was picked off of first. Russell walked against reliever Kyle McMyne and, with Crocker batting, picked up his third theft. He scored from second on Thompson's single up the middle.
Ports right-hander Tanner Peters (12-7), three starts removed from a brush with perfection, limited Bakersfield to two hits over seven scoreless innings before being chased in the eight. He was charged with three runs on five hits -- including a pair of homers -- over 7 1/3 frames with five strikeouts and a walk.
The 23-year-old right-hander fanned 41 and walked four in five starts in August.
"He's always a guy who mows people down and makes them roll over," Russell said. "It's a good thing to have the defense we do and it's a great thing to have a pitcher, like Tanner, who keeps his composure on the mound."