After a slow start to August, Ryan Schimpf has gotten back to power hitting in the last few games.
The Blue Jays farmhand homered for the fourth straight game Monday, but Double-A New Hampshire fell to Reading, 8-1, at FirstEnergy Stadium. The blast tied the team record for most consecutive games with a homer and gave him a share of the Eastern League long ball lead.
"I really just kind of fine-tuned my approach a little the past couple weeks," Schimpf said. "I've been working hard with Stubby Clapp, our hitting coach over here, and just kind of making things as simple as they can be and having a good approach and believing in it."
The 2009 fifth-round pick out of LSU was held hitless until the seventh inning, because of Joely Rodriguez's strong start for the Fightin' Phils. Leading off the seventh, Schimpf made the adjustment he needed against the southpaw and lifted the ball over the fence in dead-center.
"The previous two at-bats he was pitching me pretty tough," Schimpf said. "He was pounding me in and got me looking twice the first two at-bats. I was up there just trying to not bite on that ball in. (With the count) 1-0, I was looking for something out over the plate I could handle.
"That was actually the best pitch he gave me to hit in all three at-bats."
The 27-year-old is the Fisher Cats' career home run leader with 63 round-trippers in 274 games with the team since 2012. His 17th home run tied him on the EL circuit with Binghamton's Josh Rodriguez, despite having 146 fewer Double-A at-bats than the B-Mets' third baseman.
Schimpf had gotten off to a slow start in August. After posting a .373/.467/.784 line in 14 games with New Hampshire in July -- sandwiched around a five-game stay with Triple-A Buffalo -- the Louisiana native was struggling. Before beginning his home run streak on Aug. 14, he had been hitting .088 (3-for-34) without a dinger in his first 11 games of the month.
"For me personally, it's just not trying to do too much and kind of keeping it simple," the outfielder said. "Not trying to change mechanics or anything like that. Just going up there and taking the same approach ... just watching the game and watching the pitchers and what they're trying to do to you and having a better plan when you go up there and believing in that plan."
The left-handed hitter will get an opportunity to break the team record for successive games with a home run on Tuesday. However, he said thinking about the streak can only hurt his chances of furthering it.
"I wasn't even thinking about it today," said Schimpf. "The majority of the time when I try to hit a homer, it usually never happens. They're almost kind of effortless or they just surprise you almost.
"I'm just going to go up there and try to put together a good game plan and do what I can, put up good at-bats, and help the team win."
Top Phillies prospect J.P. Crawford doubled and scored on a single by No. 17 Andrew Knapp. The latter extended his hitting streak to 15 games with his 11th multi-hit effort during that span. Rodriguez (5-2) allowed a run on four hits with a walk and five strikeouts over seven innings.
New Hampshire's Taylor Cole fell to 5-10 after surrendering five runs on five hits and three walks and fanning five in five frames.