Lowe continues power surge for Bulls

Rays No. 14 prospect hits third, fourth homers in three games

Brandon Lowe's 12 homers across two Minor League levels this season are a career high. (Austin Friedline/Indianapolis Indians)

By Gerard Gilberto / MiLB.com | June 24, 2018 12:05 AM

Throughout his quick rise through the Minor Leagues, Brandon Lowe has never exhibited the power he's displayed in the past three games for Triple-A Durham.

The Rays' No. 14 prospect bashed a pair of homers and doubled, matching his career high with five RBIs in the Bulls' 7-6 10-inning loss to Indianapolis at Victory Field. He entered the week without an International League homer but has gone deep four times in his last three contests. And his 12 homers across two Minor League levels are a career best.

Video: Lowe smacks another homer for Durham

"It's not trying to hit the ball out, it's just trusting that the work that I put in over the offseason and the work that you put in every day," Lowe said. "It's going to pay off when you get a hold of one."

Lowe was elevated to Durham on June 7 after batting .291/.400/.508 with eight homers, 17 doubles and 41 RBIs in 54 games with Double-A Montgomery to open the season. The 23-year-old's on-base and slugging percentages still rank second and fourth, respectively, in the Southern League.

A 2015 third-round pick out of the University of Maryland, Lowe set his career high by driving in five runs for the Biscuits without help from the long ball in a May 2 game against Jackson. But he didn't catch on very quickly in Triple-A, going 2-for-17 over his first four IL games. A firm grasp of his own profile aided him through those inital struggles.

"It's helped a ton. It's knowing your game, knowing that you're not the guy that's going to hit 40 home runs," Lowe said. "I know what my role is and what I'm trying to do, and being able to stick to that really helps with bringing the rest of the game together."

He's collected eight hits in his past 21 trips to the plate, boosting his average nearly 100 points to .245. Lowe said he felt he was trying to do too much when he first got to Triple-A and needed to realize what worked for him in Montgomery.

Gameday box score

"The huge thing was just being on time. ... I'm not trying to do too much at the plate," he said. "Just staying aggressive but not being overaggressive and not trying to swing too hard, just barrel it up and what happens will happen."

Following Justin Williams' one-out base hit in the second inning Saturday night, Lowe jumped on the first pitch he saw from Indianapolis starter J.T. Brubaker and deposited it over the right-center field fence.

Ryan Lavarnway put the Indians ahead with a three-run shot in the second, but Lowe got the better of Brubaker once more in the fourth. Another single from Williams -- the Rays' ninth-ranked prospect -- put two runners in scoring position for Lowe, who picked the same spot and lifted a 2-2 offering out of the park.

"I was trying to stay on the fastball, work through the baseball and just hit it on the barrel," Lowe said.

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The Newport News, Virginia, native led off the sixth with an opposite-field double off Brubaker and scored on Jeremy Hazelbaker's two-bagger to left. He said his perfect night against Brubaker was more of a product of his general approach. 

"It wasn't anything [against Brubaker] specifically," he said. "I knew he had a good two-seam, he had a good fastball and I really tried to tell myself to stay on it and hit it the other way and if he comes in, turn on it."

The door was left open for Lowe to do more damage as he came to bat with two outs and runners on first and second in his last two at-bats, but he twice struck out on three pitches.

Big league veteran Jung Ho Kang tied the game with a run-scoring single -- his only hit in four at-bats -- in the ninth and Pablo Reyes' bases-loaded walk in the 10th delivered the final blow for Indianapolis. Pirates No. 22 prospect Jordan Luplow doubled, singled and scored twice. 

Gerard Gilberto is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @GerardGilberto4. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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