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'Dogs' Bird blasts three home runs07/19/2013 11:57 PM ET
By Robert Emrich / MiLB.com
The final score of Friday night's game between Charleston and Greensboro could have read: Greg Bird 7, Grasshoppers 5.
The Yankees' No. 20 prospect smacked three homers and drove in a career-high seven runs as the Class A RiverDogs defeated Greensboro, 7-5, at NewBridge Bank Park.
Bird started quickly, slugging a solo shot with two outs in the top of the first. Two innings later, he ripped a two-run blast, then capped his first career three-homer game with a three-run jack in the fourth. He singled home Jake Cave in the eighth for his seventh RBI.
"Going into the game, just leading up to the last few days, I've felt good," Bird said. "Me and my hitting coach [P.J. Pilittere], I have to give a lot of credit to him. There was just a little minute difference between two weeks ago and last week at home.
"So we got that fixed and leading up to it I've been seeing the ball well and hitting the ball well. Tonight was just carrying that over, just trying to get a pitch to hit and hit it hard. I feel like I did a good job."
Three weeks ago, Bird established a short-lived career best by plating five runs against Greenville. The 20-year-old first baseman hasn't cooled off, totaling 15 RBis in his last seven games. That stretch has moved him into fifth place in the South Atlantic League with 62 to go with 14 homers and a slash line of .281/.404/.506 in 87 games.
"Honestly, it's just such a up-and-down game, especially in the Minor Leagues," Bird said. "I'm just trying to stick with the same approach and get good pitches to hit. And lately, I guess I've been doing a good job of it."
Bird, who said he homered three times in a game at the Cooperstown Dreams Park during a tournament when he was 12, knows there's a logical next step.
"That's the most RBIs I've had in one night," he said. "Now I guess I'll try to get eight tomorrow. That's all I can do."
Cave had two hits and scored twice, while Cito Culver went 3-for-5 with two runs scored for Charleston. Evan Rutckyj improved to 8-6 after allowing three runs -- two earned -- on four hits while fanning six over five innings.