With 13 games left to play, A.J. Reed is clear on what Triple-A Fresno needs to do, and he knows just what his role is.
"We're trying to play the best we can. We're in a playoff race and we're trying to win every day," the slugging Astros first baseman said. "Obviously, I'm a power hitter, so I need to be driving the ball and driving in runs. When I do that and have a day like today, that boosts the confidence, so hopefully I can keep it rolling."
Reed went yard twice, plated six runs and walked during a 3-for-5 showing to pace the Grizzlies to a 16-2 blowout of the Aces at Greater Nevada Field on Monday. With the finale of the four-game set scheduled for Tuesday, second-place Fresno (71-58) moved within one game of first-place Reno in the Pacific Coast League's Pacific Northern Division.
Video: Fresno's Reed belts three-run blast
Reed, who won the Joe Bauman Award for bashing 34 home runs between Class A Advanced Lancaster and Double-A Corpus Christi in 2015, has clubbed 28 for the Grizzlies this season. That puts him five shy of a franchise record set by Pedro Feliz in 2000. The 24-year-old Kentucky product was unaware of that mark.
"My goal is 30, so if I get to [the Grizzlies' record], I get to it," he said. "If not, I don't. I'll be happy as long as I get to 30."
Nashville's Renato Nunez and Reno's Christian Walker finished Monday tied for the PCL and Minor League lead with 32. Reed had only 12 coming into July.
"The second half, I wanted to really focus on fine-tuning to get back to where I was a couple years ago. Our hitting coach here is the same hitting coach I had at Lancaster [in 2015], Darryl Robinson," he said. "That's been great for me, because he's taken the same approach, to let me do my thing until I came to him for help. It was the same thing this year, and I think that's a good way to coach, to make the players make the decision and not force anything. I'm grateful, because without him, I don't know if I would have [found my form again]."
Gameday box score
Having walked in the opening frame, he smacked a two-run dinger to chase No. 4 D-backs prospect Anthony Banda from the start with nobody out in the third inning and opened up a 7-2 lead for the Grizzlies.
"I was more pleased with the swing and the pitch location," Reed said. "It was left-left on left, and he threw a low fastball and I hit it out to left-center on a line. That proves that what we work on in the cage every day will pay off. I was happy with the swing."
He poked an opposite-field RBI single in the sixth and stepped into the box against moonlighting Reno first baseman Rudy Flores in the ninth with two men on. The 2014 second-rounder was determined to stick with his approach.
"I don't want to waste any at-bats," he said. "I got a pitch on the middle of the plate and I put a good swing on it. Every at-bat [counts] the same, and you want to take every at-bat just as seriously as you take the first one."
Tyler White hit his third homer in two games, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs, three runs scored and a walk. Batting ahead of Reed, Jack Mayfield scored five times and made a diving play at shortstop.
Video: Fresno's Mayfield makes diving catch
"Jack's a very good player for us. I've been playing with him for three years," Reed said. "He plays hard every day. He's moved a lot through our organization, and he doesn't let that get to him. He's biding his time, waiting for an opportunity, and I believe he will get one at some point. He's a really good player, and I hope somebody sees that, because he deserves it."
Houston's No. 30 prospect Dean Deetz struck out five and walked one over two hitless innings for relief for Fresno.
• Get tickets to a Grizzlies game »
Walker doubled and Oswaldo Arcia hit his 24th home run for the Aces.