Mired in a 1-for-12 skid at the plate, Blake Perkins sat out for Class A Hagerstown on Tuesday ahead of a regularly scheduled off day. That brief break may have pointed the Nationals' No. 14 prospect in the right direction.
Perkins clubbed two doubles and two singles as the Suns outmuscled Lakewood, 11-8, on Thursday night at Municipal Stadium. The switch-hitter also scored four times and drove in a run.
"He was getting good pitches to hit up in the zone," Hagerstown manager Patrick Anderson said. "He was able to get pitches that he was able to hammer and drive. As a whole, he was able to compete, and I thought that was really impressive for him."
Gameday box score
Perkins has hit .272 against lefties, .304 against right-handers and .286 overall.
The 20-year-old faced two-strike situations in each of his first three at-bats. He ran the count full against Ranger Suarez in his first at-bat before bouncing out. He then ripped a two-strike single to left field in the second inning off Suarez.
Facing Jonathan Hennigan in the third, Perkins laced an 0-2 pitch to right.
"His two-strike approach was outstanding, he really competed," Anderson said. "He fouled some pitches off and competed in each at-bat. Some of these pitches that were thrown are real pitchers' pitches and he was able to foul them off and really work the count."
In the fifth with Tyler Beckwith on first, the 2015 second-round pick belted an RBI double to center. Perkins then crossed the plate on a double by Aldrem Corredor to give the Suns an 8-0 lead.
Perkins doubled to left off Zach Morris in the seventh.
Corredor finished with three doubles for the second time this season, a triple and a career-high five RBIs, and Anderson praised Perkins and Corredor for production at the top of the order.
"The mentality of these hitters so far has just been really aggressive on pitches out over the plate. We're doing a really good job, I feel, with our two-strike approach," the skipper said. "Our kids are really bearing down on the situational hitting, which really puts in a mind-set to where they're battling and competing and they're trying to get a job done."
Hagerstown leads the South Atlantic League in batting average (.285), on-base percentage (.350), slugging percentage (.446), runs (222), hits (381), home runs (38) and RBIs (200).
"I know this is going to sound cliché, but we really stay away from the numbers," Anderson said. "We just want quality at-bats. We want competition every pitch, and with that mentality, the numbers take care of itself."
The numbers may be more impressive considering the Suns' injury woes. Juan Soto, Washington's third-ranked prospect, has been out with a broken ankle since May 2. Fourth-ranked Carter Kieboom landed on the seven-day disabled list with a knee injury May 12 and Tres Barrera, the Suns' starting catcher on Opening Day, has been down since May 4.
Raul Rivas doubled twice and singled with an RBI and Mickey Moniak, Philly's No. 2 prospect, finished 2-for-5 with a run scored for Lakewood.