Two hitless outings were more than enough for Edwin Rios to start tinkering with his swing, and it didn't take long for him to find his stride in the batter's box again.
"That last two games didn't go too well for me and I just kind of tried to stay close and go to the left side and basically use the whole field," Rios said. "That's what I did today and that helped me a ton. I know when I'm going bad, I just try to work the left side and everything will just sync back up."
As a result, the Dodgers No. 22 prospect recorded his first career five-hit game in Double-A Tulsa's 8-1 rout of Arkansas at ONEOK Field on Monday. He doubled twice and tied a professional best with four runs driven in.
"It feels great," Rios said. "It was a good day and I was just seeing the ball well. I'm just happy I could help my team win."
Facing fifth-ranked Mariners prospect Max Povse, Rios beat out a ground ball to third base in the first inning before putting the Drillers ahead for good with an RBI single up the middle in the third.
The 23-year-old third baseman followed that with a pair of doubles to left in the sixth and seventh before finishing his night with a single to right in the eighth.
Video: Tulsa's Rios collects fifth hit
"In my batting practice and pregame routine, I always try to use the whole field and hit the ball to left-center a lot," Rios said. "Just so that, in games, if my body wants to open up, I can stay close enough and able to use the field. I really take pride in that. And when you see it in the game, it's good to know that I'm doing something right."
As happy as Rios was with his five hits, he was just as pleased by something he didn't do -- strike out.
"This year, I knew I have to put the ball in play more and be more a little more selective," said Rios, who fanned 110 times in 108 games last season across three levels. "Today, I just kind of went with my approach. I was able to lay off some balls and just hit my pitch and hit some strikes. That felt really good."
A 2015 sixth-round pick, Rios returned to the Texas League after producing a .254/.304/.434 slash line over 33 games last season following two promotions. The sense of familiarity, Rios said, has already helped him get a head start on the season. He's currently batting .364.
"It honestly just felt good being able to experience Double-A when I was here," Rios said. "And being able to come back, it really doesn't feel like I was here for a short amount of time, it kind of feels like I've been there, done that. Obviously, the confidence is also a lot higher just because you were there. Confidence in huge in baseball and I feel like that's helped me a lot."
Paul Hoenecke added a pair of hits for the Drillers and Michael Johnson (1-0) picked up the win allowing a hit and a walk over two innings of relief. He struck out four.
Povse (3-1) was tagged for four runs on seven hits and three walks while fanning three over six innings.