As a slugging corner infielder, Brandon Waring knows that while his batting average may rise and fall -- often drastically as he goes through streaks and slumps -- his power should be a constant in his game.
So while the Orioles third baseman entered Thursday's game batting .207 on the season and 0-for-13 in his past four games, he wasn't too concerned. Then Waring homered three times and plated six runs in Double-A Bowie's 13-1 rout of Binghamton on Thursday.
"It felt good," said Waring, who had never hit three homers at any level before. "I would say it's almost as good as it gets. You can't ask for a lot more than going 3-for-5 with three homers and six RBIs."
The 27-year-old pulled an 0-1 curveball to left field for a three-run homer with one out in the first inning and he added a two-run shot to center off a 3-2 fastball with nobody out in the fifth. He capped his evening with a two-out solo shot down the third-base line off another fastball an inning later.
"I've been trying to get things going all year," said Waring. "I've been battling. [My teammates] said the season isn't over yet and that I still have six or seven games. They said [a big outing] could make my season. It makes it feel better.
"The home run totals have always been where they are, but the average is inconsistent. I'm a power hitter, it's always nice to drive in runs. Every year I've played professional baseball, my No. 1 goal is to get those power numbers up and drive in runs. Your average fluctuates as a power hitter, but I've always hit at least 20 home runs every year. I have 34 now and it would be nice to get to 25 and get to a round number."
Waring hit an even 20 homers in 2007 and '08 and he connected for 27 more across two levels in 2009. He smacked 22 and 21 respectively with Bowie in 2010 and '11, and he bashed 24 between Bowie and Triple-A Indianapolis last season.
Even though this power is there, his career-low average has given him cause for concern. He has only hit below .240 once in his career, and that was when he batted .222 with Bowie two seasons ago.
Waring attributes the mini-slump at the end of August and the larger season-long struggle to stay above the Mendoza line -- to being too aggressive at the plate.
"I just needed to relax," said Waring, who was drafted by Cincinnati in 2007 and traded to Baltimore the following year. "When you get in a slump, you try to hit your way out of it and you try to press. I'm trying to relax and that has made my swing quicker through the zone. When you try to muscle up, your body drags and your bat slows down. When you stay tall, it works like it is supposed to."