Bethancourt leads way for M-Braves

Atlanta's No. 3 prospect aids cause on both sides of the plate

Mississippi's Christian Bethancourt has reached base in 38 straight contests. (Walter Barnard)

By Brandon Simes / Staff | August 11, 2013 6:22 PM ET

Already riding a 13-game hitting streak and a 37-game on-base streak entering Sunday night, Christian Bethancourt took things to another level for the Braves.

Bethancourt went 4-for-4 with two homers and three RBIs and guided Ian Thomas through seven two-hit innings with a season-high nine strikeouts in Double-A Mississippi's 4-0 blanking of Jackson at Trustmark Park.

Bethancourt raised his batting average 10 points with his perfect night to .288, his highest mark since May 20. The Braves' No. 3 prospect has not failed to reach base since June 11.

Thomas (7-7) went seven innings for the third time in his past four starts, particularly impressive considering the 6-foot-4 left-hander made his first start as a pro June 21. Prior to going 5-0 with a 3.15 ERA in 26 appearances in relief for Class A Rome in the South Atlantic League last season, Thomas appeared in 89 games out of the bullpen in independent league ball over parts of four seasons.

The 26-year-old from Norfolk, Va., has a 2.62 ERA and 115 strikeouts in 89 1/3 innings in 2013.

Bethancourt used his second two-homer game of both the season and his career to boost his OPS to .764. That number is the highest mark the 21-year-old has posted since he finished 2009 at .788 between the Gulf Coast League and the Appalachian League. The native of Panama City, Panama, put up a .566 OPS for Mississippi last season.

Jose Martinez, the only other Brave to record a base hit, added a homer and a double. Shae Simmons and Pat Egan each tossed a perfect inning to close out the two-hitter.

Anthony Vasquez (1-2) took the complete-game loss, allowing four runs -- three earned -- on six hits while striking out five over eight innings. The shutout was the 10th time in 2013 that Jackson has failed to score a run.

Brandon Simes is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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