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Elmore extends streak to 30 games06/24/2012 1:53 AM ET
By Sam Dykstra / Special to MLB.com
Some players want to hit .350. Others want to smack 30 homers, drive in 100 runs or steal 50 bases. The list of statistical goals baseball players set for themselves can go on and on.
Jake Elmore didn't set any goals coming into this season, his first for Triple-A Reno. He just wanted to play.
"Before the season started, I thought I was just going to be a utility guy here," the Aces infielder said. "My manager [Brett Butler] told me, 'If you play well, you'll get in the lineup.' So I thought I would just get some chances here and there.
"But I became a starter pretty much on day one and because of a few things here and there, I've got a starting job."
Given his not-so-recent run at the plate, Elmore's place in the lineup appears pretty secure.
The D-backs prospect extended his hitting streak to a Minor League season-high 30 games with a two-run double in the sixth inning of Saturday's 12-4 victory at Salt Lake.
Elmore, who added a single in the ninth, also scored twice. The streak, which began on May 20, surpassed the 29-game run of Rangers top prospect Jurickson Profar as the longest in the Minors this year. Elmore also has reached base in 45 consecutive games.
As the hitting enters its second month, the Louisiana State product said he only started paying attention recently.
"To tell you the truth, I hadn't really thought about it much," he said. "I got to 20 and people started talking about it a little, and then there was 25. So it's not something I paid a whole lot of attention.
"I don't want to say it brings added pressure, but it adds a little something. What it means to me, though, is that I've been catching some breaks and also seeing the ball really well."
One of those breaks came on June 7 against Tucson, when Elmore failed to reach base in his first five at-bats. The Aces rallied for two runs in the ninth to force extra innings and Elmore tripled home the winning run in the 17th game of the streak.
"There are always occurrences that need to happen to put one of these together," he said.
Over his last 30 games, Elmore is batting .426 (55-for-129) with 13 doubles, four triples and 29 RBIs. Teammate Ryan Wheeler (.431) is the only Minor Leaguer with a better average since May 20. Elmore's .395 average for the season is the best in professional baseball, 15 points ahead of teammate Adam Eaton, who's second in the Pacific Coast League.
Elmore has not turned to superstition to continue his recent run of good fortune.
"No, I have a routine that I follow every day, but that's about it," he said. "I've worn different sliding shorts, different socks, whatever. I haven't really focused on any of that. When I realized I had a streak going, I knew that I wasn't doing anything the same really, so I didn't need to keep anything the same, either. I'm not really a superstitious guy, I guess."
Elmore also doesn't appear to be a selfish player.
"I like doing it to help the team," he said. "It's fun for everyone, kind of like a no-hitter or a scoreless innings streak for a pitcher. Everyone seems to get into it a little, and it's fun for the team."
Like all good streaks, even Joe Dimaggio's Major League-record 56-game run, Elmore's eventually will end. And the 2008 34th-round Draft pick seems well-prepared for that moment.
"Honestly, it wouldn't faze me," he said. "The thing that would upset me most would be not getting a hit, but not for the streak's sake. I just go out there and play as best I can. Try to square up, hit balls hard and put together some good at-bats. That's what makes a successful day for me."
Eaton extended his own on-base streak to 37 games by going 1-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored. Ryan Wheeler, the D-backs' No. 17 prospect, homered and drove in three runs on a 2-for-5 night.