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JetHawks' Vasquez swats three home runs
Houston's No. 18 prospect first to do so for Lancaster since Springer
07/17/2014 2:14 AM ET
Danry Vasquez is batting .290 in his first season playing at the Class A Advanced level. (Lancaster JetHawks)

Danry Vasquez had such a good game on Wednesday night, his teammates thought there was something wrong with him.

To be fair, Vasquez's performance was off-kilter. He'd hit just one home run through 80 games this season. In Game No. 81, he slugged three.

"When I hit the first one, they said, 'Are you sick? Come on, give him some water. Get him some Gatorade,'" Vasquez explained. "When I hit the second one, they said, 'Oh, man, he's even more sick than we thought. You better sit down...' Then I hit the third one, and they brought me more Gatorade."

The Astros' 18th-ranked prospect collected a career-high five RBIs in Class A Advanced Lancaster's 11-6 loss to visiting Visalia. Vasquez has had one other game with multiple homers -- he hit two for Class A Quad Cities last Sept. 1. Rancho Cucamonga's Jon Garcia is the only other Cal Leaguer to hit three in a game this year.

"It's unreal," Vasquez said. "I can't believe I did that."

Of the 14 other three- or four- homer games in the Minors this season, all have been in victories. The last three-homer game for the JetHawks came on May 12, 2012, when George Springer went yard in four straight at-bats over the course of a doubleheader.

Vasquez, whom the Astros acquired from the Tigers in exchange for Jose Veras last July 29, was close to matching Springer. His three dingers also came in consecutive at-bats and all off Rawhide starter Brandon Sinnery. All three left the yard in right field.

"I was thinking about just hitting the ball. I was thinking after the first home run that I wanted to get at least two more hits, but I wasn't thinking about getting another home run," said the 20-year-old outfielder, who served as designated hitter. "After I did, I was like, 'Wow. That's unreal.'

"I'm not a home run hitter, but one thing is that if a pitcher throws me [a pitch] in the middle of the plate, I swing a good swing at it."

Batting second in the bottom of the first, the left-handed hitter evened the game, 1-1, with his second homer of the year.

"In the first at-bat [Sinnery] threw it right in the middle," Vasquez said. "I hit his mistakes tonight."

After Visalia scored six in the second and three in the top of the third, he struck again for a two-run jack in the bottom of the third.

"In the second at-bat, he threw a fastball [in] to move me off the plate, but I stayed where I was," said Vasquez. "Then he threw a high changeup, and I hit it off."

His third homer of the game came with one out and one on in the fifth.

"The third one, he threw a fastball right around the middle of the plate," said Vasquez. "He was trying to come in, but he left it in the middle."

That dinger made the score, 10-6, and brought Vasquez some optimism.

"When I hit the third one, I was thinking we've got to get those four more runs. I wasn't thinking about my home runs. I was thinking about winning," he said.

"We were four runs down, and I was thinking about my teammates all starting to get base hits, and then if I could come up and get another base hit and tie the game or hit another home run to help us win, it would be the best thing in my life."

But in his final at-bat in the seventh, Vasquez grounded into an inning-ending double play against Daniel Gibson.

"After I hit the third one, it was hard for me to focus, because I was like, 'Oh, wow, I don't know what he s going to throw me,'" Vasquez said. "I didn't know what I was going to do, but after I get in the box, I've just got to see the ball and hit it if it comes in the strike zone."

Mark Appel, the Astros' top pitching prospect, fell to 1-5 with a 10.80 ERA in the Cal League. He allowed seven runs -- all earned -- on seven hits and a walk over 1 2/3 innings. He struck out two.

The defeat halted a six-game JetHawks winning streak.

"I'm sad because we lost, but I'm happy in my mind and my heart because I'm thinking about my family in Venezuela seeing what I did," Vasquez said. "They follow on MiLB[.com]. That's the only way they can know what I'm doing."

In his Class A Advanced debut, Breland Almadova went 4-for-5 with a triple and three runs scored for the Rawhide.

Josh Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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