Matt den Dekker has been putting in extra work in the cage as he tries to prove he can handle the challenge of Triple-A. On Tuesday, he lived up to that level.
The Mets' No. 14 prospect went 3-for-5 with a homer, four RBIs and three runs scored as the Buffalo Bisons stormed to a 17-1 victory over the Toledo Mud Hens.
The Bisons' 16-run margin of victory was the largest in Coca-Cola Field history. Buffalo also beat the Columbus Clippers, 17-1, on April 16, 2007.
"It's a lot of fun when everybody's swinging the bat well," den Dekker said. "I think everybody in the lineup got a hit. ... Hopefully we can keep that going."
Coming into the game in a 2-for-18 slump, den Dekker, batted seventh for the first time this year. He did not let that bother him, though, singling in his first two at-bats and coming around to score both times.
"It doesn't really matter [where I hit]," said den Dekker, who drove in a run with his second base knock. "I'm going to go up there, and wherever I'm at in the order, I'll try to stay with my approach."
The 24-year-old outfielder capped his day with a three-run homer in the eighth, tying his career high with four RBIs. He knocked in four twice last year -- once for Class A Advanced St. Lucie and once for Double-A Binghamton.
"I've been struggling at the plate recently, but I've been working with our hitting coach George Greer," den Dekker said. "I've been working on some things and trying to stay positive. I know I can hit, I know it's there. It's just a matter of putting things together. Tonight, I got some good swings on balls and things worked out for me."
Fred Lewis, Adam Loewen and pinch-hitter Oswaldo Navarro also went deep for the Bisons in the eighth, helping the team to a seven-run frame.
With Tuesday's offensive effort, Buffalo ranks second in the International League with 461 runs. The Bisons have has plated seven or more in six of their last eight games and have won 10 of their last 12. In July, the team is averaging 6.7 runs per contest.
But despite his and the team's success Tuesday, den Dekker hasn't lost his focus. Batting .219 with seven homers through 31 contests at Triple-A, he believes there is more work to be done.
"I'm not going to get too high after one game," den Dekker said. "I'm just going to get back there tomorrow and keep working. You've got to keep working and keep looking at what you're doing, and I'll do that tomorrow."