The first thing Brian Rey does after most games is check his phone. A text from his dad, Orlando, usually awaits. The message Saturday, after his team broke a five-game losing streak, had arrived right on schedule: Great game, son. Way to turn things around.Then Rey noticed he had another
The first thing Brian Rey does after most games is check his phone. A text from his dad, Orlando, usually awaits. The message Saturday, after his team broke a five-game losing streak, had arrived right on schedule: Great game, son. Way to turn things around.
Then Rey noticed he had another notification. A lot of them, actually. The Class A Dayton Twitter account had tagged him in multiple tweets. That's because it took only two innings for him to earn a spot next to Joey Votto and Adam Dunn in the team's record book. And before the game was halfway done, he had surpassed both Reds legends.
Up until that moment, Rey had no idea. He had to chime in himself.
The 21-year-old outfield prospect stuffed the scorebook with a franchise-record eight RBIs, carrying the Dragons to a 14-7 win over Fort Wayne at Parkview Field. He homered twice and finished 3-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts.
"To be mentioned in the same category as those Dayton greats and Reds greats as well, it means a lot to me," Rey said. "I was just trying to help my team win and the ball went my way and it was really special for me."
Dunn set the previous record of seven RBIs on Aug. 8, 2000. Votto matched it on April 18, 2004 and Juan Francisco made it a three-way tie at the top on Aug. 19, 2007. The last Dragon to pull off the feat was David Vidal on June 18, 2011.
All four were bumped down a spot, though, thanks to Rey's monster night. Batting in the six hole, the Miami Dade product belted a grand slam to center field against right-hander Efraín Contreras to put Dayton ahead, 6-0, before an out was recorded in the first.
After four of the first five batters reached base in the second, Rey doubled to left on the first pitch from right-hander Brandon Komar. That cleared the bases and put him into a five-way tie for the most RBIs in a game in Dragons history.
Gameday box score
Back in the dugout between innings, Rey's teammates gave him no chance to ignore the stats.
"They were screaming out 'Seven RBIs! Seven RBIs!'" Rey said. "They put pressure on to keep going and whatnot and keep having the game that I'm having. That was pretty cool."
He obliged by taking Komar deep to left leading off the fourth, giving him sole possession of the record. The rest of the Dragons wanted more. They prodded him to hit for the cycle.
"I'm over here like, 'Wait, wait, let's take it easy. Let's try to get a win first. We can worry about the stats later,'" Rey said. "I didn't know what record I broke or even if I did break a record until after the game."
Rey played just one game in April but became a mainstay in the lineup by mid-May and hit .288 with an .832 OPS. In June, he batted .297 with a .732 OPS. But he'd gone cold this month, entering the weekend with a .203/.263/.297 slash line in 18 games. He was mired in a 2-for-20 funk and had not homered since June 13.
With three extra-base hits Saturday, including Rey's seventh and eighth dingers of the year, the 2018 13th-rounder had his best game in a while.
"I know that it only takes one game to get you out a little funk," he said. "A game like this raises my confidence a lot and tells me that you're back in and you can keep contributing to your team."
Daytona didn't add another run. It didn't need to. Right-hander Eduardo Salazar (5-2) got the win after allowing three runs on five hits and two walks while striking out four over 5 2/3 innings.
Like Rey, the Dragons have a postgame routine. Whoever contributed most in that night's win is honored with a professional wrestling-style belt. This time, they prevailed by seven. Without Rey's eight RBIs, they would have lost by one. He holds the belt.
"That," he said, "was pretty special, too."
Joe Bloss is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jtbloss.