With a .490 on-base percentage, the Dodgers' Joc Pederson is among the hottest hitters in the Pacific Coast League. He's had no shortage of remarkable performances this season, but Thursday night's meant something extra.
"Everytime you cross the plate, you're helping the team to win. That's the name of the game," said baseball's No. 32 prospect. "To score five times in a game, well, that's a lot. It's nice to be on base that much, and even better to score every time."
Pederson's five runs set a career high for the Dodgers' No. 2 prospect and going 2-for-3 with his ninth homer and three walks did indeed help Triple-A Albuquerque to a 12-7 win over visiting Sacramento.
Prior to Thursday's win, the Isotopes were 2-5 in May.
"We've been struggling a little bit in games, so it's nice to have a team win like that," the 22-year-old outfielder said. "Everybody played well, and we had a lot of hits, lots of runs. It's always fun to have a game like that."
Pederson also contributed on defense, making a diving grab in center field to rob Michael Taylor of extra bases. The catch ended the third inning with the Isotopes ahead, 7-4.
"He hit it and I just put my head down. I knew he got it pretty good in the gap, so I ran to what I thought was a good spot and put head up," he said. "I thought it was going to be out of reach, but I dove and got my glove on it and was able to catch it."
When the 2010 11th-rounder came to bat in the sixth, he'd already walked three times and singled once. The left-hander crushed River Cats reliever Deryk Hooker's first offering over the opposite-field fence for his second home run in as many days.
"My past couple at-bats earlier in the game, I missed a couple pitches I should have been hitting. I had to make an adjustment," Pederson said. "I went up there looking for something to hit, to be honest, and I was glad to see the adjustment play out like that in the game."
Although he found fault with the early at-bats, the Palo Alto, California native admitted he wasn't exactly ashamed of them.
"I want to be a selective hitter. It's always nice to know you can go up there and wait for your pitch and if you don't get pitches you can take advantage of, you never want to give away at-bats," he said. "Every time I walked, I was able to score, so it's basically just like another hit."
Alex Guerrero was 4-for-5 with a double, six RBIs and a stolen base for the Isotopes. He's batting .355.
"He can swing the bat with the best of them," Pederson said of the Cuban-born infielder. "He consistently puts together qaulity at-bats, and I'm glad we were able to put baserunners on in front of him [Thursday]."
Zach Lee, the Dodgers' No. 4 prospect, earned the win to improve to 3-3. The 22-year-old righty allowed five runs -- just two of them earned -- on six hits and a walk over six innings. He struck out four. Lee has a 3.86 ERA in the PCL.
Nate Freiman homered twice and tallied three RBIs for the River Cats.