Dopirak drives in seven for 51s

Belts first two Triple-A homers as Vegas rolls past Portland

Brian Dopirak is hitting .340 with two homers and 11 RBIs in 13 games with Las Vegas. (Mike Janes/Four Seam Images)

By John Torenli / Special to | July 29, 2009 10:54 PM ET

Brian Dopirak is proving he can put up gaudy numbers at any level.

The Blue Jays' first base prospect belted his first two Triple-A homers, including a grand slam, and drove in a team season-high seven runs Wednesday as the Las Vegas 51s beat the Portland Beavers, 8-4.

"It feels good," said Dopirak. "These are some well-established pitchers up here and a lot of these guys know how to pitch."

Dopirak, who batted .308 with 19 homers and 68 RBIs in 87 games with Double-A New Hampshire before his promotion earlier this month, hasn't taken long to establish himself in the middle of the 51s' lineup.

The former second-round pick, who was released by the Cubs and signed by Toronto prior to the start of last season, was batting .327 (16-for-49) with four RBIs and four runs scored in his first dozen games with Las Vegas.

But the 25-year-old slugger had yet to flash the power that has helped him hit 139 homers over eight pro seasons.

That changed in a big way Wednesday night as Dopirak connected with the bases loaded in the top of the sixth and cranked a three-run shot in the eighth.

"It was a great feeling because [the grand slam] was a big part of the game," he said. "We were down a few runs and I was just looking to get one guy in. I'm grateful for it."

It was Dopirak's first multi-homer performance since clouting a pair of solo shots for the Fisher Cats on May 30.

The Cubs' former Minor League Player of the Year also had a two-homer, eight-RBI performance against Double-A Connecticut on May 8.

The power surge ended a 20-game homer drought for Dopirak, who hadn't gone deep since July 2 against Binghamton.

"It's been awesome because we have a lot of guys who have played the game for a while," Dopirak said of his new teammates. "They know how to play the game and it's a privilege for me to be around these guys. It's been really good for me."

Although he's finally reached the top level of the Minors for the first time in his career, Dopirak isn't taking anything for granted as his big league dreams appear closer than ever before.

"I'm just playing every day and trying to contribute to the team and get better every day," he said. "I'd like to think there's a chance [I'll reach the Majors]. That's why we're all playing. I'm staying positive and the main thing is just having fun."

John Torenli is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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