A career night for first baseman David Flores on Thursday helped the Lancaster JetHawks win their first road game in over a month.
Flores went 4-for-5 with three home runs and seven RBIs as the Class A Advanced JetHawks held off the host High Desert Mavericks, 13-7, to break a 12-game road losing streak. Their last win away from home was at Lake Elsinore on June 13.
"I don't remember ever having a game like that," Flores said. "I was happy after the first homer -- it had been a while since I hit a ball that well."
He became the first Lancaster player to hit three home runs in a single contest since Jon Gaston accomplished the feat on May 6, 2009.
Flores, a 24-year-old infielder, entered the game with seven homers in 69 games split between Lancaster and Double-A Corpus Christi. He hit a career-high 14 longballs in 115 games with the JetHawks last season.
High Desert took an early lead with three runs in the first, the latter two on second baseman Shaver Hansen's first home run since joining the Mavericks in late June.
The JetHawks went hitless through the first two frames before Flores led off the third with a single to right. He came around to score after Rene Garcia and Jordan Comadena followed with consecutive base hits.
The Cal State Sacramento product, whom the Astros selected with their 18th-round pick in the 2008 Draft, gave Lancaster its first lead of the night with a three-run shot in the fourth. Mavericks Stadium in High Desert is known as a paradise for home run hitters, but according to JetHawks announcer Jeff Lasky, there was no questioning Flores' first blast.
The Mavericks came back with three runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 6-5 advantage, then added a seventh run when Hansen tripled and scored in the fifth.
Lancaster responded with a four-run sixth to take the lead for good. Center fielder Austin Wates led off the frame with a triple to right. After Jose Thompson drew a walk, High Desert brought in Brandon Maurer to replace Jason Markovitz.
The first batter Maurer faced, JetHawks third baseman Jonathan Meyer, delivered a three-run shot to left. Up next, Flores sat on Maurer's first offering, a fastball up, and smacked it off the scoreboard for his second homer of the night.
Flores grounded out to open the eighth, then came up again with two on and two out in the ninth.
"I was expecting something off-speed," he said. "But I got another fastball and got enough wood on it."
Flores deposited another first-ball fastball over the left-field wall for his third homer and seventh RBI -- both career highs.
"That one carried a little," he laughed. "High Desert's kind of like that."
He had previously homered twice in a game just once in his career, as a member of the New York-Penn League's Tri-City ValleyCats in July 2008. Flores had never plated more than four runs in a game before.
Flores had four of Lancaster's 10 hits in the game -- no one else had more than one.
"We've been playing well at home," said Flores, whose JetHawks are 7-4 at Clear Channel Stadium in the second half of the season. "But it was really big to get that first win on the road."
Hansen led the High Desert offense, going 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBIs. He was a double shy of the cycle.
Lancaster reliever Michael Ness improved to 3-3 after allowing one run on three hits in 2 1/3 frames. The Duke University product fanned three and did not walk a batter.
Maurer (2-4) suffered his third loss in as many outings, yielding two runs on two hits over two innings.