Elmore extends streaks in Aces' win

D-backs prospect has hits in 25 straight, reached base in 40

By Andrew Pentis / Special to MLB.com | June 16, 2012 9:49 PM ET

Jake Elmore is not the type of ballplayer to run in the other direction when he sees his own numbers -- team stats are posted on the clubhouse wall -- but he's also not one to stand there, staring.

"Anybody that has a job keeps up with how they're doing," Elmore said. "It's a lie when people say they don't."

And the D-backs farmhand isn't straying from the truth when everything seems to be going so well. He doubled twice and walked in five plate appearances Saturday night, extending his hitting streak to 25 games in the Reno Aces' 9-4 win over the Tucson Padres.

Elmore also stretched his on-base streak to 40 games.

Batting second and playing second base, he drew a four-pitch free pass to start the third inning in between doubling in the first and seventh on what he called hanging sliders.

"I got some balls over the heart of the plate and didn't miss 'em," Elmore said. "A lot of times when you're going well, you don't miss 'em."

That's been the case since May 20, when the Arizona State University product started his hit streak. He's collected more than one hit in 13 of the 25 contests and his .391 batting average ranks second behind teammate Adam Eaton (.394) among Pacific Coast League peers.

All this from a little-used utility player at ASU (he had 45 at-bats in 43 games on one of the nation's top teams), a 34th-round Draft pick in 2008 and a career .273 hitter entering the season.

"Based on how I've played in the past -- I feel like I have played well throughout my career but not this well," he said, "I would like to think I've opened some eyes and I sure hope so."

And even if he doesn't care to delve into the numbers, who couldn't help but take the plunge? His 60 runs scored in 59 games eclipses the 58 runs he scored in 120 games at Double-A Mobile in 2011. He's also already matched or exceeded his totals from a year ago in doubles (19), triples (5), RBIs (47) and stolen bases (23).

How does he explain the jump? One slight mechanical adjustment that Aces batting coach Rick Burleson has instilled in him.

"'Burly' has helped me focus on not leaving my position, I guess," he said. "Just 'cause I have two strikes doesn't mean I have to fly out on my front side. I let the ball come to me, let it travel."

That is demonstrated in his 25-to-39 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a league-leading .471 on-base percentage -- three-tenths of a point above Eaton's.

In explaining his success, the right-on right-handed hitter also mentioned Eaton and A.J Pollock, the D-backs' No. 6 prospect, who went 3-for-5 with three RBIs to raise his average to .365. Having veteran shortstop Stephen Drew, who went 2-for-4 with a run in his sixth rehab game, in the lineup doesn't hurt.

"Our entire lineup, one through nine, makes it so tough on a pitcher that we wear pitchers down and they leave pitches down the middle," Elmore said. "That's been the biggest reason for my success."

Aces starter Pat Corbin (3-1) yielded four runs -- three earned -- on a season-high 12 hits over 6 1/3 innings.

"He's fearless. He'll throw three straight fastballs if he has to," Elmore said. "He's got a quiet demeanor, but he's a bulldog and he was a bulldog tonight."

Tucson's Matt Palmer (4-4) gave up four runs on eight hits over five frames.

Andrew Pentis is a contributor to MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at AndrewMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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