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Rahmatulla goes 6-for-6, plates seven06/10/2012 8:52 PM ET
By Ashley Marshall / Special to MLB.com
Tyler Rahmatulla entered Sunday in a minor funk. With the tiniest of mechanical adjustments at the plate, he turned in an historic performance.
Slumping? Not anymore.
The Cardinals prospect went 6-for-6 and established career highs with two homers and seven RBIs, but the Class A Quad Cities River Bandits dropped a 16-15, 11-inning decision to the Burlington Bees.
"I've actually never had a game quite like this and I'd never hit two home runs in one game before," Rahmatulla said. "It was a good game for me. It was kinda funny.
"It was a good game going back and forth, but it's tough because we ended up losing. It's not ideal because you always try to win every game."
Rahmatulla tied the Midwest League record for hits in a game, set most recently by Lansing's Kevin Pillar on May 12. Before the season, nobody had recorded six hits in a game since Peoria's Travis Hanson on April 12, 2003.
The 22-year-old third baseman shattered all of his previous career highs. It was his first contest with more than four hits and nearly doubled his personal best of four RBIs while tying marks for doubles and runs scored.
Selected in the 34th round of the 2011 Draft, Rahmatulla led off the second with a blast to left field and connected for a two-run shot to left-center in the third.
"I think I got into a 1-0 count and told myself I was going to see a ball up," Rahmatulla said of his first homer. "I got a fastball up and got the head of the bat on it. The wind was blowing out to left field. I didn't get all of it, but it carried. That was pretty nice.
"[In the third inning], I got into another hitter's count, 2-0. I laid off some off-speed stuff, which I've been working on because I've been chasing balls down, but I got a fastball, which was elevated."
The UCLA product pulled a two-out RBI single to left in the fourth, sent a one-out double down the third-base line in the sixth and delivered a one-out run-scoring single in a four-run seventh.
With the River Bandits trailing, 15-12, and down to their final out in the ninth, Rahmatulla capped his career day with an RBI double off reliever Jonathan Joseph. Anthony Garcia followed with a two-run homer to force extra innings.
"I was taking pitches that I wanted to swing at because I was looking for a fastball," Rahmatulla said. "I didn't get one, got down to two strikes and worked it to 2-2. He hung a breaking ball and I hit it down the line."
After a scorching May in which he hit .341 with 24 RBIs in 23 games, Rahmatulla entered Sunday's contest in a bit of a slump. He was 5-for-28 in eight games this month, but the record-tying afternoon raised his average 26 points to .327.
"I had not been seeing the ball too well the last week or so, so it was my plan to relax at the plate today. It worked out," he said. "Obviously, the situation dictated the pitch I was looking for, but I was just looking for something to drive.
"I think in the back of my mind I had just got away from being committed to my plan. Sometimes when failure comes, you lack confidence and start to press too much. I've been working with my hitting coach, Joe Kruzel, getting in position early and getting my front foot down quicker to drive the ball."
Joseph (1-2) ended up getting the win, despite allowing four runs on four hits over four innings. Bees starter Seth Frankoff surrendered six runs -- five earned -- on seven hits and a walk while striking out two in 2 2/3 innings.
Eliezer Mesa went 4-for-6 with a triple and four RBIs, while B.A. Vollmuth and Bobby Crocker each collected three hits for the Bees.
Quad Cities' Willy Paulino (2-4) retired two batters in the 11th before giving up a walk-off single to Wade Kirkland.