Hit the ball as hard as possible, preferably in the air. That simple formula has been serving Casey Golden well this season.
The 20th-round Rockies pick mashed his third homer in as many games and plated five runs en route to Rookie-level Grand Junction's 8-7 win over Ogden on Tuesday. It marked the 20th shot of the season in just 196 at-bats for Golden, who has bashed six long balls in his last nine games.
Video: Grand Junction's Golden goes yard
It also marked the first 20-homer season in the Pioneer League since Ogden's Justin Chigbogu reached the mark in 2014. The power wave on the circuit extends to Rockies teammate Chad Spanberger, who hit his 18th on Tuesday.
This power binge isn't by design, Golden said. But it is one that naturally flows from his hitting style.
"I guess hitting home runs is pretty fun," the 23-year-old outfielder said. "I'm not really trying to hit home runs, but home runs keep happening. Get the ball to the bat, put the ball in the air, that's kind of where my strengths are, not on the ground. Try to put it in the gap and if it goes out, it goes out."
Gameday box score
Golden worked a 3-2 count with two men on in the seventh inning and Grand Junction trailing, 7-4. He proceeded to uncork one off the Raptors' Vinny Santarsiero to left-center field to tie the game.
The next inning Ramon Marcelino hit a pinch-hit solo shot -- his 15th of the year -- to put the Rockies in front, completing a banner night for the slugging trio -- Golden (.673), Spanberger (.631) and Marcelino (.611).
"People have been asking me if we have a little competition going," said Golden. "It didn't really start out that way, but the more people make of it, I guess that's how it feels. We just kind of try to build off each other, just try to hit balls hard. I guess the competition is who can hit the ball the hardest.
"Our team's been pretty consistent, everywhere we go -- Montana, Utah, Idaho. It's not a power derby, but we definitely have some guys on this team that I guess try to hit balls in the air."
Golden also lined a double to left field in the sixth. The UNC Wilmington product has amassed a slash line of .296/.375/.673 this season.
"I'd say I've been trying to swing at better pitches, balls I can put barrels to, sticking to my approach and I'm having the most success with that," he said. "I think with my approach, I've shown that I've built off last year (in college) and it works here."
Spanberger, a sixth-rounder out of Arkansas this June, doubled while improving his line to .302/.376/.631.
Colton Hathcock (1-4) allowed a hit and a walk over 1 1/3 innings to pick up the victory amd Jefry Valdez struck out the side in the ninth to nab his 10th save for the Rockies.
Ogden's Luis Paz hit his 17th home run and finished a triple short of the cycle.
Jonathan Raymond is a contributor to MiLB.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.