Diaz notches first professional hat trick

Twins infielder plates five in Miracle's first three-homer game

Lewin Diaz stretched his hitting streak to seven games while hitting safely in his last nine of 11. (Gordon Donovan/MiLB.com)

By Chris Bumbaca / MiLB.com | May 16, 2019 11:55 PM

Lewin Diaz began Thursday with three homers in 106 at-bats on the season. A few hours and four plate appearances later, he had doubled that total. 

The Minnesota infield prospect recorded his first career three-homer game and drove in five runs as Class A Advanced Fort Myers held off Bradenton, 13-7, at LECOM Park. It marked the first hat trick for the Miracle, who were created in 1962 but have been affiliated with the Twins since 1992.

"I feel super good," he said through interpreter Jose Miranda, the Twins No. 14 prospect. "I feel fortunate to be the first one to get three homers in Miracle history." 

Video: Diaz goes deep three times for Fort Myers

Diaz said it was a normal day at the ballpark for him, at least until the game started. He grounded out in the first inning as Fort Myers pushed across three runs before taking the field. The 22-year-old's power outburst started with two outs in the third after Miranda's first double and Diaz followed by taking Marauders southpaw Oddy Nunez deep to right-center field.

After the game, the Dominican Republic native said the first jack was the one he got the most of, and he rolled for the remainder of the game, which included a 46-minute rain delay in the eighth. 

"After the first one, I just felt super confident in myself," Diaz said. "I just kept hitting balls hard and they kept getting hit out of the field." 

Two innings later, he lined another two-run shot to right -- this time on a 1-0 offering from righty Gavin Wallace to give the Miracle a 7-3 lead. 

"I was just concentrating on the game and good things happened," Diaz said.

Gameday box score

Top Twins prospect Royce Lewis led off the fifth with a double to center and celebrated by doing push-ups on the base. During the No. 7 overall prospect's next at-bat in the sixth, Wallace threw behind him, leading to his ejection. Bradenton manager Wyatt Toregas and shortstop Robbie Glendinning also were thrown out of the game. 

Video: Lewis rips double for Miracle

But Diaz was not done putting on his own display. Facing right-hander Logan Stoelke with two outs and nobody on in the seventh, the first baseman worked a full count and deposited his third long ball of the game beyond the right-field wall. In the ninth, he beat out an infield single up the middle. 

"I was just seeing good pitches and thinking of hitting the ball to the middle," Diaz said. "Good things happened." 

2019 Minor League milestones

It was the first time he'd gone yard three times in a game even dating back to his childhood in Santo Domingo. 

The 6-foot-4 prospect's first career multi-homer game came on May 2, 2017 for Class A Cedar Rapids against Lake County. He drove in a career-high six RBIs for Rookie Advanced Elizabethton opposite Johnson City on July 22, 2016.

Diaz signed with the Twins in November 2013 and made his full season debut in 2017 with the Kernels after a strong showing over 46 games for Elizabethton -- nine homers and a .929 OPS -- the previous year. With Cedar Rapids, he batted .292/.329/.444 with 12 homers and 68 RBIs in 122 contests.

2019 MiLB include

His adjustment to the Florida State League last season didn't go as smoothly. In 79 games, he batted .224 with a .598 OPS and six homers. But through the first six weeks of this season, Diaz sports a .908 OPS and a .324 average while matching his home run total from last year. 

"I kept working in the offseason," he said. "But second time around, I just have a good idea of what is going to happen [during my at-bats] and what the pitchers are going to throw to me. So I can make adjustments.

"I just want to keep working the same way I am right now and keep putting up good numbers." 

Glendinning mashed a grand slam in the fifth and Pirates No. 3 prospect Travis Swaggerty reached base twice and scored two times. 

Chris Bumbaca is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @BOOMbaca. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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