Four of a kind: Griffin makes history

D-backs prospect ties single-game Southern League home run record

Jon Griffin is 7-for-10 with five homers and eight RBIs in his last two games. (Mobile BayBears)

By Robert Emrich / | May 21, 2014 11:54 PM

It's not often you see the home team's fans asking a visiting player for a curtain call. Jon Griffin deserved the rare honor on Wednesday night at Smokies Stadium.

The D-backs prospect homered in four straight at-bats to tie the Southern League record and power Double-A Mobile to a 17-7 romp over Tennessee.

Griffin's historic night started out innocently enough with a single in the first inning and fly ball to right field in the second. He didn't hit his first longball until the fifth, when he led off with his sixth homer of the season. He went deep again an inning later and slugged a three-run homer in the seventh.

After David Peralta drew a leadoff walk in the ninth against outfielder Anthony Giansanti, Griffin launched his record-tying fourth homer over the right-field wall. The 25-year-old first baseman, who finished with seven RBIs, wasn't sure he'd get a crack at the Southern League record book.

"That was pretty cool to get another shot," Griffin said. "When you have a game like that and you've got three homers already, you don't know if you'll have another shot. The way I was seeing the ball, I really wanted another one. And I'm glad I got it.

"I wasn't sure if they were going to come at me. I knew we had a big lead, I knew it was possible. I was really just trying to be patient and get a ball up in the zone that I could get extended on."

Following the record-setting blast, the 3,561 in attendance urged Griffin to come out for a curtain call, a request he was hesitant to answer.

"They were chanting pretty loud and I didn't mean any disrespect by it, but to keep them quiet I waved to them a couple them times," he said. "It was pretty cool."

The 2011 21st-round Draft pick bested Tagg Bozied's 2005 team record of three longballs and became the second player in Southern League history to go yard four times. George Kalafatis accomplished the feat on July 1, 1969 for the Montgomery Rebels.

"Anytime you make a record book in pro ball, it's an honor, especially with all of the names that have come out of this league," Griffin said. "That's a pretty cool thing to look back on and say I was a part of."

The seven RBIs tied the team mark, established by Peralta on April 22 against Huntsville. Griffin, who also had five hits on May 12, 2012 with Class A Advanced Visalia, had nothing but praise for his teammate, a converted pitcher who drove in five runs on Wednesday.

"David, his story is so incredible," Griffin said. "He's one of the best hitters I've ever hit behind, his hands are so fast. It's pretty cool to have two guys in the lineup who have done that this year, and it's not even half over."

The University of Central Florida product has found his power stroke this month, hitting seven of his nine homers in May. After posting a .708 OPS in April, Griffin has upped it to 1.147 this month while collecting 14 RBIs in 18 games.

"It's tough," he said. "When you first start off the year, you want to succeed and do well, so you put pressure on yourself. Lately, I just kind of relaxed up there and not try and do too much. I'm just trying to cut down on my swing-and-misses and foul balls. Lately, I've been seeing the ball pretty well and hit pitches pretty well."

With the BayBears establishing season highs in runs and hits, Dustin Martin reached base three times and scored three runs, while Steve Rodriguez contributed two RBIs. Bradin Hagens was the beneficiary of the outbust, improving to 2-2 after giving up three runs on four hits over seven innings.

Kris Bryant, the Cubs' No. 2 prospect, slugged his league-leading 12th homer and Wes Darvill added a two-run blast for Tennessee.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @RobertEmrich. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

View More