Back in Spring Training, Danny Jansen spoke some prophetic words to teammate Max Pentecost. Now his prediction is fueling the heart of a potent Florida State League lineup.
Jansen, the cleanup hitter and No. 22 Blue Jays prospect, homered twice in a nine-run third inning on a 4-for-5 day and Pentecost went 4-for-6 with a homer and five RBIs on Sunday as Class A Advanced Dunedin rolled to a 16-4 thumping of Bradenton.
Video: Danny Jansen hits his second homer in an inning
"This spring, I was like, 'You know, it would be cool if you and I hit 3-4,'" Jansen said he told Pentecost in March. "Sure enough, one day it came up on the lineup. We've both been doing pretty well, so it's stayed."
The back-to-back power punch posed trouble to Marauders pitchers all day. With the score tied, 2-2, Jansen smacked a one-out solo homer to left field in the third.
"I just got a curveball up in the zone and it was one of the first curveballs that [Bradenton starter Logan Sendelbach] had thrown for a strike," Jansen said. "I saw it up and put a good swing on it. After that, the boys just started rolling."
The shot sparked the Blue Jays. Seven of the next eight batters delivered hits, with six scoring. Pentecost, who singled in a run in the first, plated another with a two-out single to left and was aboard when Jansen clubbed his second blast of the frame, a two-run jack to left-center that capped the nine-run outburst.
"I got a chance to get my second at-bat and every time I try to hit home runs, I never do it," Jansen said. "I just went up there thinking about just being quiet and being short and got another pitch in a 2-1 count and put another good swing on it. It didn't hit me until afterwards."
The accomplishment was a first for the Blue Jays designated hitter -- and for others in the dugout.
"I was sitting next to my hitting coach [Corey Hart] and he said, 'You just hit two home runs in an inning. I don't think I've ever seen that,'" Jansen said. "It finally hit me and I was like, 'Wow, that was something special.' I'm grateful for the opportunity. It was an amazing experience and I'm going to cherish it."
Dunedin's offense hardly cooled from there. Pentecost belted a two-run homer to left-center in the seventh and Jansen followed with a double over second base, although he was left aboard. Pentecost singled in a run in a three-run eighth and Jansen -- who also singled in the fifth -- followed with a walk.
The Blue Jays established season highs for runs and hits (22).
"Man, it's awesome, especially after the last two days when hitting was kind of sparse," Jansen said after Dunedin dropped 4-0 and 3-2 decisions Friday and Saturday. "The boys were kind of scuffling and all that. We were talking as team that we were going to be aggressive, come in aggressive, [sit on] the heater. We did just that. It started from the get-go."
The four hits matched Jansen's season high and established a new 2017 best for Pentecost, a 2014 first-round Draft pick.
"Even though he hits home runs and I try to go back-to-back and fly out, it's still fun," Jansen said with a laugh. "He's an amazing player, man, and he really helps out the team defensively with his catching now."
Through 21 games, Pentecost is batting .344/.368/.622 with seven homers and 22 RBIs, while Jansen is raking at a .394/.439/.577 clip with five homers and 14 RBIs in 26 contests.
"I've never had a good start, never had a fast start," Jansen said. "I've always had slow starts and kind of struggled the first month. I just think from the get-go, I'm just showing up to the ballpark, having a good time at all times. I know that's because I'm doing so well at the plate and trying to keep it even-keeled like that the whole season. Having a good start, it's been a real fun ride so far."
Days like Sunday build on a growing sense of belief for Jansen and his team.
"Confidence level is pretty high, and this year I'm trying to keep it high at all times," he said. "I've had a couple years where I've struggled, and I'm going to take those moments and it's going to make me stronger because I know what it's like. I know what that dark tunnel is like to struggle for a long time. I'm just trying to keep this confidence and this energy, and I'm feeding off my teammates. They bring energy every day."