Gabby Guerrero's hitting coach doesn't often see pitchers sneak fastballs by the young outfielder. Now, Guerrero is figuring out the off-speed plan against him, too.
The Mariners' No. 5 prospect homered in both games of Friday's doubleheader, totaling five hits as Class A Advanced High Desert settled for a split with visiting Inland Empire.
Guerrero and the Mavericks won the opener, 12-8, before falling in the finale, 8-7.
The 20-year-old outfielder started his big day with an RBI double in the fourth inning of Game 1, then connected for a three-run homer in the eighth.
"The home run he hit was a 3-2 slider," Mavericks hitting coach Max Venable said. "Most of the hits he got tonight were off of off-speed pitches. He's doing well. I think a lot of times with Gabby, he gets in trouble just being Gabby. He's aggressive at the plate. Sometimes his strike zone expands a little bit, but he's 20. He's doing a really good job of adjusting."
Guerrero singled in the first inning of the nightcap and blasted a two-run shot in the third. The native of the Dominican Republic tacked on a single in the fifth for his final hit of the day. Between the two games, he drove in six runs.
"He did a good job adjusting to how the league has been pitching him," Venable said. "With him being 20, he's really matured a lot during the course of the year."
The two-homer day gave him 15 on the season, tying the career high he established in 2012 between the Rookie-level Dominican Summer and Arizona leagues. Guerrero has hits in five of his last six games to get his average back over .300 -- he's ninth in the California League at .305.
"He's gone through some period of times when he's struggled with the off-speed pitches, but when guys try to sneak a fastball by him, I don't think so. That's not a very good idea," Venable said with a laugh.
"He's out there offensively doing his thing and defensively, he's a good teammate. The progress he's made so far this year has been outstanding."
High Desert tallied 19 hits in the opener. Jack Reinheimer led the way with four hits and Burt Reynolds went 3-for-5 with a grand slam.
Friday's finale went to extra innings before Inland Empire broke through. With runners at first and second and two out in the ninth, Mark Shannon singled home Dennis Raben with the go-ahead run. Earlier, Raben hit his 25th homer of the season and eighth in 11 games.