The TinCaps may have wrapped up their division already, but Franmil Reyes wasn't about to let up on his mantra.
"Something I say all the time to my coach: hard start and hard finish," he said.
Reyes, the Padres' No. 26 prospect, tied career highs with five hits and five RBIs and Class A Fort Wayne scored eight times in the eighth inning to cap a 17-0 rout of Bowling Green on Monday afternoon.
"It's good to see the guys go out and have fun -- that doesn't happen often," said TinCaps hitting coach Lance Burkhart. "To see those guys having fun and get some momentum going into the playoffs, it's a reward for them for all their hard work."
Reyes went 5-for-5 with three doubles, five RBIs and three runs scored to highlight the TinCaps' 20-hit attack. Fort Wayne starter Pete Kelich combined with Aaron Cressley to hold the Hot Rods to four hits.
"We feel good, we stayed positive and focused on what we wanted to do," said Reyes. "We give 100 percent no matter what. We completed the game and that's what we do."
Reyes hit an RBI single and scored in the first inning, doubled and scored in the third, slapped a two-run double in the fifth, singled home a run in the seventh and finished his afternoon with an RBI double in the eighth.
"I felt so comfortable at the plate," Reyes said. "I just go up there and tried to put the ball in play, hit it to both sides of the field. The whole [batting] practice, I was practicing in the cage just trying to hit the ball on the barrel and make hard contact."
Reyes was one of six starters to have multi-hit efforts Monday -- Josh VanMeter and Mike Gettys each finished with three hits and Trae Santos, Franchy Cordero and Luis Tejada all had a pair of hits. Tejada and catcher Michael Miller went deep as Fort Wayne was 11-for-17 with runners in scoring position and left just three men on base.
"My last at-bat, I had men on second and first and said, 'This is a situation where I can do my job,'" said Reyes, who is batting .255 with eight homers and 62 RBIs in 123 games this year. "When I had one strike, I knew he'd come back with a fastball outside, so I was just swinging the bat to the opposite way. I checked my bat and that was my two-strike approach -- I tried to put the bat on the ball. I wasn't planning to go 5-for-5, but I just stayed positive and swing the bat hard."
Burkhart also praised Reyes, in his fourth Minor League season, for his abilities when down in the count.
"His approach, hitting in the situation and making adjustments for what they were doing to him -- he put together all his work and mental approach, and that's a tough thing to do, to get five hits," he said. "If you can stay focused and not do too much in those situations, that's impressive."
Reyes' only other five-hit day came on July 17, 2012, with the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League Padres. He last knocked home five runs in a game on July 29 against Dayton. The 20-year-old outfielder signed with San Diego out of the Dominican Republic in 2011 for $700,000 as a 16-year-old. His younger brother, Franklin Reyes, signed with the White Sox in July for $1.5 million.
"I feel so excited for what I did today," said Reyes. "I feel good with my year, but its something -- it's baseball."
Burkhart said he wasn't surprised by Reyes' big game. The outfielder, who is listed at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, is hitting .571 in September after showing moderate production numbers for much of the summer. He's batting .418 over his last 11 games.
"I'm definitely not surprised -- he's been swinging the bat well the last week," Burkhart said. "He's had a little change in his mental approach, his physical approach -- he doesnt have to try to do too much, and he put that to work today.
"I think his physical attributes are going to take care of themselves," Burkhart continued, referring to Reyes' long-term future. "It's a battle of him allowing himself to do the mental stuff, sticking with an approach and taking it to the plate every time. From his on-deck approach to taking it to the plate, that's a battle for every hitter. He's made a lot of progress with that this year, not throwing at-bats away, having a two-strike approach. He's done very good for a big man like that who hits in the middle of the order."
The starter Kelich (3-2) struck out one and walked another, allowing two hits on 62 pitches over six innings before Cressley worked the final three frames for his first save. Fort Wayne finished the season with the best overall record in the Midwest League's Eastern Division at 77-61 and will face West Michigan on Wednesday in the Midwest League quarterfinals.
Brad Wallace (2-6) started for Bowling Green, allowing seven runs -- six earned -- on 11 hits over five innings. He struck out four. Reliever Luis Urena was also charged with seven runs -- six earned -- while recording two outs. Catcher Nick Ciuffo had two of the Hot Rods' four hits.