Will Smith acquitted himself well during his first six Major League games earlier this month. His performance since returning to the Minors leaves little doubt he wants to get back there as quickly as possible.
Los Angeles' No. 5 prospect tied his career high by homering in his fourth straight game but Triple-A Oklahoma City dropped a 10-7 decision to El Paso on Sunday night at Southwest University Park. Since returning from his cup of coffee with the Dodgers on June 7, Smith has gone 8-for-28 (.286) with four long balls and eight RBIs in seven games.
Video: Dodgers' Smith smacks solo homer to right center
The 24-year-old gave Oklahoma City a quick lead in the top of the first inning with a solo shot off El Paso starter Dinelson Lamet. The opposite-field blast over the fence in right-center field was Smith's 12th long ball of the season in his 46th game. His pace seems similar to 2018 when the backstop belted a career-high 20 homers in 98 games between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma despite missing nearly all of May. Last season, Smith's 12th roundtripper came on July 7 in his 49th game, which coincidentally kicked off a streak of four straight games with a home run, a feat he accomplished twice in 2018.
"I've always known I could do this and put up power numbers," Smith told MiLB.com last July. "It was just figuring out how to do it and how to do it consistently. ... Just to put it all together and grow as a player allows me to doing what I'm doing right now."
The Dodgers' first-round pick in the 2016 Draft was promoted to the bigs on May 27 after Austin Barnes went on the injured list with a groin issue. Smith made his debut the next night against the Mets and beat out an infield single against Steven Matz for his first big league hit. He added a double in his final at-bat and also threw out a runner attempting to steal.
Gameday box score
The Louisville, Kentucky native went 6-for-21 (.286) with two homers, a double and three RBIs before he returned to Oklahoma City on June 6. Including his two Major League home runs, Smith has left the yard six times in his last 10 games.
Dodgers No. 12 prospect Edwin Rios and Zach Reks added solo homers in the loss. It marked the sixth time Reks reached the seats in his last nine games.
Oklahoma City reliever Justin Grimm (3-4) retired two batters in the seventh and was charged with three runs on three hits and hit a batter.
2019 MiLB include
Second-ranked San Diego prospect Luis Urias homered, singled, was hit by a pitch and drove in three runs for the Chihuahuas, who also got a long ball and three RBIs from Jose Pirela. No. 29 prospect Ty France singled, walked and was hit by pitch, but he was kept in the ballpark after tying a club record by going deep in five consecutive games.
With two more home runs Sunday, El Paso has cleared the fences a Minor League-best 152 times in its first 69 games.
Paco Rodriguez (3-1) allowed a hit and a walk with one strikeout over three scoreless frames to pick up the win.