Gary Brown set the tone Friday night and his San Jose Giants teammates were happy to follow his lead.
The former first-round Draft pick went 5-for-7 with a career-high six RBIs to lead a 23-hit assault as San Jose outslugged the Bakersfield Blaze, 17-7.
"Hitting is contagious, everybody knows that," Brown said. "And it's always more fun when everybody is hitting well.
"I try to be a catalyst. As a leadoff hitter, all you want to do is get on base for the guys behind you, give them a chance to see some pitches and get in scoring position. That is what the Giants brought me here for."
The 22-year-old designated hitter opened the game with an opposite-field single but was picked off and caught stealing second base.
Brown bunted for a hit in the Giants' six-run third inning and scored ahead of Jarrett Parker's fourth homer of the year. San Jose sent 11 men to the plate in the inning, with Brown ripping a two-out two-run double in his second at-bat of the frame.
In the fourth, the Cal State-Fullerton produced pulled a bases-loaded double down the third-base line to extend the Giants' lead to 13-0. And he collected his sixth RBI of the night by singling home Carter Jurica in the sixth.
"It was a case of 'See ball, hit ball,'" Brown said of his RBI opportunities. "That's the beauty of coming up with men on base -- they don't want to fall behind you.
"In that second inning, I got a 1-0 fastball that found the hole and in the fourth he gave me a first-pitch fastball."
The only blemishes on Brown's outing were a strikeout in the eighth and a flyout that ended the ninth.
The 24th overall selection in last year's Draft has hit safely in 24 of 28 games this season. On Friday, he raised his batting average 24 points to .345.
It was his 10th multi-hit game of the year and the sixth time he has driven in at least two runs. In his previous 39 games as a pro, Brown never collected more than three hits.
Brown is known as a speedy contact hitter who loves to put the ball in play and force opponents to makes plays defensively. He hit a school-record .438 in his final college season and is taking a similar approach to his at-bats in the California League.
"I just try to split the gaps and score runs," Brown said. "My power comes by accident. I hit a home run the other day, but that was just an 0-2 pitch I was trying to foul off.
"I had a few games like this back in college, and that wasn't all that long ago. I don't think I've ever had six RBIs because I'm not a power hitter, but I did have a five-hit game once, I think."
Every San Jose starter had at least one hit and a run scored, with seven players enjoying multi-hit efforts. Alex Burg went 5-for-6 with four RBIs and a pair of runs scored, while Jurica hit three doubles and plated two runs.
"Alex had a huge game and we were all really pumped for him," Brown said. "We were coming off of two losses, so it was important for us all to play well and win. Winning makes everything fun."
Andy Reichard (1-0) allowed an unearned run on six hits over 5 2/3 innings to earn the win, but former South Atlantic League All-Star Jose Castilla surrendered four runs without retiring a batter.