Cody Decker and Jaff Decker are experiencing something new: early-season success.
Cody Decker homered twice and drove in six runs, while Jaff Decker went deep twice and contributed four RBIs on Friday, powering the San Antonio Missions to a 26-5 romp over the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.
Cody, who is not related to Jaff, went yard first, smacking a solo blast as part of the Missions' six-run opening inning. Jaff followed with a two-run shot in the second and connected again with no one on in the fourth. Not to be outdone, Cody took the second pitch from reliever Buddy Baumann in the sixth over the left-field wall for a three-run homer.
Cody is coming off a season in which he tied Matt Clark for the Padres organizational lead with 28 homers. The 2009 22nd-round pick drove in 90 runs while batting .270 for Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore. Those totals are even more impressive, considering he hit just one homer and drove in eight runs in 22 games in April.
"Honestly, I have yet to start well. This is the first time I'm off to strong start," said Cody, who collected four of the Missions' 26 hits and scored four times. "For me, it's new territory."
Cody credited a rigorous offseason regimen that has helped him register five homers and 11 RBIs in eight games.
"I worked out a ton, I hit with multiple hitting instructors, I went to UCLA and hit at the facility all the time," the 24-year-old first baseman said. "I worked out with [former Major Leaguer] Reggie Smith, he's a major contributor to my baseball life. I spent almost every hour in the gym this offseason. I worked really hard."
Jaff, a 2008 first-rounder, also got off to a slow start last season with the Storm. The 21-year-old outfielder batted .195 with three homers before the California League All-Star break while missing a month due to a strained hamstring. He recovered to finish with 17 homers and an .874 OPS before breaking his hand on Aug. 18.
"Just being healthy is pretty much the big plus," said Jaff, who leads the Double-A Texas League with 15 RBIs. "It's real nice right now to get the swing down early and get the fundamentals down early. It's a nice feeling to not have to find the swing but have it already there. It's a joy right now."
Both players expressed satisfaction at taking the first two games of the series from the reigning Texas League champions. The Missions dropped two games last weekend, both by one run.
"The two we lost last week were tough losses. It was important for us to get out there and play our game," Cody said. "We decided to throw those out and get on with our game. Today, everyone was on and it was contagious."
Friday's outburst came four days after San Antonio set a franchise record with eight homers in a 23-10 romp over Tulsa. Every player in the Missions' lineup finished with at least one hit, with James Darnell going 4-for-5 with five runs scored. Daniel Robertson and Blake Tekotte slugged grand slams, while rehabbing slugger Kyle Blanks had three hits and scored four times.