Since Anthony Alford got back in the lineup after a two-day absence, he has gotten back to swinging one of the Eastern League's hottest bats.
On Wednesday, Toronto's No. 3 prospect went 4-for-5 and scored a run before Double-A New Hampshire fell to Trenton, 7-6, at Northest Delta Dental Stadium.
Video: Fisher Cats' Alford collects fourth hit
Alford worked the ball to all fields over the course of the game, beginning with a single to right field in the first inning. The outfielder ripped another to center in the fifth and a third to left in the seventh before legging out an infield hit to short in the ninth.
"My big thing is to try and stay in the middle of the field," Alford said. "It gives me more room for error if I catch it a little later to go to right, and if I catch it earlier to go to left. I'm just trying to hit it to the biggest part of the park."
MLB.com's No. 62 overall prospect turned in his first four-hit game of the season and first since Aug. 9, 2015 with Class A Advanced Dunedin.
Alford missed two games earlier in the month after sustaining what he said was a groin injury in the first game of a doubleheader on May 6. After Wednesday, the 22-year-old has gone 11-for-28 in eight games since rejoining the lineup. Having missed significant stretches of time in 2015 and 2016 while on the disabled list, he said the transition back after two days was fairly easy.
Gameday box score
"I just had to get my timing back," the Mississippi native said. "It really wasn't bad. It's not like I missed a ton of time. I've had times before where I had to come back after missing a month and that's tough. But after missing a few days, it's not as bad to get back on track."
Alford began the season on a tear, with his average sitting at .400 as recently as April 26. However, he went 5-for-31 (.161) over the next eight games before going down with the injury. The 2012 third-round pick said the time off didn't have anything to do with his recent resurgence.
"In baseball I know you're going to go through those tough times, but I wouldn't necessarily say it's a hard time or a struggle," Alford said. "I just feel like in those times you've got to keep grinding out at-bats and continue to make those adjustments.
"Even when I wasn't getting hits, I was still confident because I knew what I had to do and I knew what [pitchers] were trying to do to me. At times, I kind of get away from my approach, but I hold myself accountable and get back to it. I didn't sweat it when I went through the little rough patch. I felt just as confident then as I did [tonight]."
Fourth-ranked Toronto prospect Richard Urena homered, singled and drove in two runs. No. 30 Ryan McBroom added three hits, falling a triple shy of the cycle.
Conner Greene (1-3), the sixth-ranked Jays prospect, was tagged for five runs on six hits while walking two and fanning two over five innings.
Trenton's Billy Fleming smacked a three-run shot and Billy McKinney added a solo shot.
Justus Sheffield (2-2), the Yankees No. 6 prospect, surrendered five runs on nine hits and a walk and struck out five over six frames for the Thunder. J.P. Feyereisen gave up a run on two hits but fanned two in the ninth to pick up his second save.